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Men in Black II(2002)
When a renegade Kylothian monster disguised as a lingerie model threatens the survival of the human race, the boys of the MIB get the call to step up and get busy. With their headquarters under siege and time running out, Agents Kay and Jay enlist the help of Frank the Pug and a posse of hard-living worms to help them kick some seriously sexy alien butt!
For more about Men in Black II and the Men in Black II Blu-ray release, see Men in Black II Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 25, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith (I), Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
» See full cast & crew
Men in Black II Blu-ray Review
Brought to you by Sprint and Burger King.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 25, 2012
Thanks for bringing me back.
There's probably not a more conspiracy theory-friendly film franchise out there than Men in Black. Seriously, these things have everything but the proverbial black helicopters: there's aliens amongst us, government spooks, radically advanced technology, and all kinds of nefarious plots from within and without to conquer civilization, destroy the Earth, and so on and so forth. The only real difference is that these "men in black" are working to save the universe, while the conspiracy theorists would argue that their "real world" counterparts are all probably working for the elite Bilderberg and Rothschild sorts and not for the betterment and preservation of the general population. But then again if POOF! goes the Earth, then POOF! go the elites, right? True, unless they have...wait for it...A SECRET SPACESHIP READY TO SAVE THEM AND TRANSPORT THEM SAFELY TO NIBIRU! "Yo," the conspiracy theorists might also argue, "these Men in Black movies are just the elites toying with mankind, ya know? I mean what better way to fool everyone than to hide everything they do in plain sight by putting it out there in mass entertainment for all the sheeple to devour as fiction hook, line, and sinker!" Well, whether they're one big Illuminati joke or just innocent Hollywood fare, the Men in Black brand is a big hit with the sheeple, er, the moviegoing public. The first film was so big that it spawned the obligatory sequel, and it's the obligatory "not nearly as good as the first" sequel at that. Its story: same cast, more or less the same cadence, and a lot less fun.
The mind-scrubbed gent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) is off doing his thing who-knows-where, making his former partner Agent Jay (Will Smith) the new veteran hotshot MIB operative. Little does Jay know that he's about to face his greatest challenge, a challenge coming in the form of...a lingerie model. But this is no ordinary cover girl. She's actually Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), an evil shapeshifting alien with one goal: to retrieve the Light of Zartha at all costs. The light was once brought to Earth by the Zarthans in an effort to hide it from Serleena, but the MIB agents in charge of that mission chose not to accept the responsibility, for the light has the power to destroy the entire planet. But apparently that was just a ruse. Serleena's come to understand that the light is indeed somewhere on Earth, and she's not leaving without it. The light is being held in a small New York Pizza joint. Serleena barges in and kills the owner, right in front of a frightened in-hiding employee (or "employe") named Laura (Rosario Dawson). Jay's on the case, but decides Laura's first-hand knowledge might be useful and chooses not to erase her memory of the incident. And as if that break in procedure wasn't bad enough, Jay and Laura show signs of a budding romance. But Laura's not the only help Jay's going to need. If he's to stop Serleena and save Earth, he's going to need the help of the only agent to have before worked with the Light of Zartha: Kay. As Jay rushes headfirst into danger and Kay plays catchup, the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance. In other words, it's just another day at the office for the Men in Black.
Even considering all the conspiracy theory/alien/lunatic fringe/big guns/scary aliens possibilities that must be out there in someone's mind, apparently this was the best the filmmakers could do to follow up a pretty novel and fine fan favorite in Men in Black. The sequel plays with little rhythm and even less purpose. It merely regurgitates people and places and things and ideas from the first film, including a new villain and a few new insignificant ideas into the already-established world. That's not necessarily a bad thing, keeping things pretty even and familiar, but the film doesn't really do all that much with its new characters and new toys. Worse, it has a smaller feel than the first film, a real mistake for an Action/Sci-Fi/Comedy follow-up. And with that smaller feel doesn't come a more personal feel. Men in Black II sort of just goes through the motions, happy to simply shoot bad guys and plop talking dogs, special effects, and prosthetic aliens onto the screen, and go way overboard with the comic relief. In fact, it might be fair to call Men in Black II a "Comic Relief" movie with bits and pieces of plot, action, and Science Fiction tossed in to alleviate the constant flat-falling humor. To the film's credit, however, the special effects generally look great, even if they're often either superfluous or distracting from what little semblance of a plot there may be. Rick Baker goes all-in and creates some of the best-looking visual effects of his storied career. The visuals are polished and perfected, from the smallest little touches to the biggest monsters and human add-ons. Yet that's really all the movie is. If it's not one big comic relief session, it's one big playground for the effects artists to go all-out and do their thing. Oh, and somewhere in there Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones must again save the world and try to rekindle their chemistry from the first movie.
Somehow Men in Black II even fails to really milk its thrift store Sci-Fi plot. There's the opportunity for real appeal here for a classic dime novel or comic book tale come to brilliant 21st century life. The whacky outer space-y names, the bigger than life consequences, the crazy aliens, the over-the-top-action, it's altogether the definition of absurd, yet the movie never brings it all together into one great experience. It's all just stuff that's piled up on the screen with only the loosest plot threads running through it as a constant. The movie throws so many characters, places, special effects, and random alien characters into the heap that none of it sticks or plays with any real sense of purpose, outside of the main storyline. What should have been a fun hodgepodge plays like the filmmakers just wanted to see what they could get away with putting in the finished product. At least the movie takes place in New York, where apparently nobody bats an eyelash when monsters eat the subway car or government spooks and aliens burst into a house and open a secret compartment to retrieve a few guns from a hidden stash. And that's all before they've been lobotomized MIB style. At least the cast seems to have fun with it, or at least they seem to be trying to have fun with it, as in the old "better to laugh with it than to cry about it." Will Smith infuses the movie with some rhythm and attitude as only he can, but Jones largely falls flat in this one. Rip Torn milks his part for all its worth, and the good-looking female leads, well, they look good, Dawson in particular, while Lara Flynn Boyle never injects her villainess with much attitude, anger, or a sense that she really means business. But when the best the movie can scrounge together is Rosario Dawson playing Twister with aliens, Smith and Jones being flushed down a massive toilet, and an influx of in-film promos for Sprint and Burger King, then the whole thing really has no choice but to get all twisted around as it circles the drain while calling for help after chowing down on a bunch of unsatisfying empty calories.
Men in Black II Blu-ray, Video Quality
Men in Black II's 1080p Blu-ray transfer borders on the masterful. Sony's released another sparkling catalog title, this one hitting all the right notes and only some light edge enhancement and a touch of aliasing away from perfection. The image sports a very light grain structure, the retention of which aids in presenting the film with a quality cinematic texture. Fine detailing is excellent. The image is consistently sharp and very crisp. Facial and clothing textures are natural, and viewers will appreciate the clarity and ease and realism with which little touches are revealed. The scuffed floor of a pizza shop, scratches on the shiny MIB weaponry, worn-down city exteriors, rusted old equipment, and a grimy iMac keyboard all look fantastically accurate and authentic to the environments in which they may be found. Colors are even and steady. The palette is diverse and vibrant, and while the movie might not be a prime example of excessively bright colors, the transfer handles all comers with steady, natural efficiency. Black levels are balanced and true, ditto flesh tones. There's not much else to add, good or bad; this transfer does almost everything right, and for a catalogue title coming in at a bargain price on release day, it's hard to find much fault with this one.
Men in Black II Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Men in Black II's awesome DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is sure to please fans and audiophiles alike. This is a full, rich, theater-quality sound presentation. The back channels are used regularly and rightly. Though active across the back, the track feels very balanced and natural. Music, which enjoys a rich surround support element, plays clearly, with fine spacing across the front and a strong but true low end. Bass impresses throughout, whether supporting the heavy beats of Who Let the Dogs Out or defining various hard-hitting action scenes, although there are one or two instances where the low end feels just the slightest bit underpowered. The surrounds are also utilized in action, particularly when debris necessarily shoots about the listening area or in support of a barrage of gunfire that rips through the soundstage in chapter twelve, the projectiles flying about and metal shredding with startling accuracy. Directional effects are true to the supporting images, and natural ambience both light and involved immerse the listener into the world of Men in Black II. Dialogue remains firmly grounded in the center channel and plays with the sort of balance and accuracy listeners expect of a top-flight sound presentation. This is one smooth, involved, and entertaining catalogue lossless soundtrack from Sony.
Men in Black II Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Men in Black II contains more than enough extras for any fan, the supplements covering the movie from pretty much every major angle.
Men in Black II Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Men in Black II, sadly, suffers from classic sequel-itis. It pales in comparison to the fun and novelty of the original. This movie feels smaller rather than bigger and forced out of rather than naturally flowing from the first. The special effects are the highlight, but the humor misses, the action's dull, and the silly plot's wasted by the influx of all the nothing that's been wrenched into the end product. But why not call someone on that Sprint mobile phone and chow down on some Burger King afterwards? Sony's Blu-ray release of Men in Black II features fine video, great audio, and a ton of extras. Fans can't go wrong with a purchase, particularly considering the included movie cash for the third film, which will hopefully wash down the bad taste this film leaves in the mouth, just like an icy cold Coke from Burger King, of course.
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Men in Black II Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Men in Black II Blu-ray - March 12, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Men in Black II to Blu-ray in May. The first sequel to the 1997 blockbuster sci-fi-comedy, the film follows MiB agents K (Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men) and J (Will Smith, Bad Boys) as they fight a renegade ...
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