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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Tommy Lee Jones
Will Smith
Rip Torn
Lara Flynn Boyle
Tony Shalhoub
Rosario Dawson.
Directors
Barry Sonnenfeld.
Screenwriters
Robert Gordon
Barry Fanaro.
Running Time
88 minutes

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Men In Black 2
Fans of the first film, who are simply content with more of the same, will be more than satisfied with the return of the stylish galaxy defenders


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Plot
Jay is now MiB's top agent monitoring alien activity on Earth. But when an old menace, Serleena, returns in search of the hidden Light of Zartha, the Earth's very existence is threatened.


Review
So Malibu Comics' finest, the boys in black, are back after a five-year absence. It doesn't seem as if they've been away so long. On the one hand, that's a tribute. They were - and are - such sarcastically engaging characters that only a dour party pooper could seriously object to stepping out with them.

They're still looking mighty fine as they go about their business defending the galaxy from alien SFX supremo Rick Baker's ooky, many-tentacled, many-toothed thingies (being humanoid-centric is not a charge that can be levelled at this latex-dependent, wondrously visualised sci-fi franchise).

On the other hand, the decidedly sketchy script is what you'd expect from a more rushed job. It's as if all those other films Smith and Jones have made in the meantime - and the threatened Hollywood strikes that postponed production further - had not given the undeniably clever Sonnenfeld enough time to develop anything more than a bizarre combination of wit, encores of japes from the original film, and some faintly desperate silliness.

Perhaps that is asking too much. As sequels go, this is never less than cute; although we do find it slightly embarrassing that Frank the Pug (promoted from his previous diplomatic status to Jay's latest partner) sitting in the car singing - oh, you've guessed - Who Let The Dogs Out? should make us giggle quite so much as it does.

This is not to suggest there aren't some superbly ridiculous and wickedly twisted jests: a 600-foot subway-swallowing worm named Jeffrey; the return of the large-living 'Worm Guys'; Kay's working environment at the U.S. Post Office. And when our men follow the cryptic trail of clues Kay left for himself, in case he forgot where he put the Light Of Zartha, there's a quite fantastic, sensationally funny find in a train station locker.

It also ends on a brilliant sight gag that's as philosophically unnerving as the original film's punchline. Jones and Smith (and the always welcome Torn as unflappable Zed) are naturally the most fun. As for the rest, Flynn Boyle disproves the Duchess Of Windsor's infamous dictate that you can never be too thin, but gives suitably camp seductive villainy to her monster in the borrowed form of a lingerie model.

Head-sprouting Jeebs, the talking dog and the chain-smoking, martini-swilling Worm Guys do their things (again). But the tentative romance between lonely Jay and waitress- witness Laura is a non-starter; not surprising, really, given the hectic under-90-minutes-including-the-lengthy-credits remit, during which the rather more pressing matters of foiling Serleena's MIB HQ hostage siege and saving the Earth unfurl.


Extras

Men In Black 2 Men In Black 2
Released: 27 January 2003
The film may not be up to much, but the DVD redeems itself when it comes to the extras offered on this two-disc extravaganza.

Disc one offers the now obligatory commentary, which comes with the added gimmick of directorial diagrams (essentially, big white circles drawn around everything mentioned by Barry Sonnenfeld during the course of his entertaining talk). It’s an interesting way of livening things up, but you can always plump for the audio-only option if you don’t fancy the idea of the screen being scribbled on at regular intervals. There’s also a string of trailers (for other Columbia titles) and a bizarre ‘training video’ which gives hints and tips for identifying celebrity aliens. The latter is clearly aimed at the British market, given that it includes participation from the likes of Vernon Kay and Caprice.

Some of the featurettes on the first disc, and indeed on the second, are disappointingly short, but there are more than enough of them, on every possible topic, from soundbites by cast members to ‘how did they do that?’ footage of the aliens, to compensate for this.

Throw in DVD-Rom features, outtakes (essentially Smith and Jones fluffing their lines and giggling a lot) and animated storyboards of Serleena’s transformation sequence (which you can’t help thinking would have benefited from some commentary of its own), and the result is hugely satisfying. If only they’d put as much effort and thought into the film.


Verdict
Strange, zany, generally amusing and very likeable without actually being all that hilarious or surprising, Men In Black II relies heavily on familiarity with and affection for the original. For fans of that film, who are simply content with more of the same,


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Men In Black 2
Empire Star Rating

MIB 2

A big let down, but still cool. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 02:53, 15 March 2012 | Report This Post


Men In Black II Review

Lacking the freshness of the first movie, MIB 2 recycles elements from its predecessor, but still it's highly enjoyable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:28, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


Very Entertaining.

Will smith does very well, and Tommy lee sleepwalks his way through. Some funny gags amidst all the splatter ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 12:09, 20 May 2008 | Report This Post


dissapointing sequel to the brilliant fist men in black film!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by casino at 22:39, 30 July 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Men In Black 2

the first felt like it was a half hour too short,the 2nd felt like it was 90 mins too long ... More

Posted by krudler at 20:14, 30 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Men In Black 2

I liked it  ... More

Posted by kenada_woo at 17:18, 30 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Men In Black 2

Useless,bloated,despicable,unfunny,boring,moronic carcass of a movie. I enjoyed the first effort from Sonnenfeld,Smith & Jones, it had charm,wit and punch enough to excite. Men In Black II has none of that, it has that skinny broad from Twin Peaks as an alien and enough dire lines of dialogue to make your head explode. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kazuya at 17:09, 30 June 2007 | Report This Post


MIB II

A series of cheap jokes at the expense of the brilliant original film, with a torrent of budget CGI, Men In Black II is more or less a feature length, novelty spin-off. Although it's predecessor was, ultimately, rather a silly romp, this deals out a line of consequenceless events, rendering nearly all of the comedy redundant. For sci-fi comedy with a bit of weight, Men In Black The First cannot be beaten. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by wooz at 12:14, 30 June 2007 | Report This Post


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