Men In Black II

It comes as no surprise that Men In Black II has graced us this summer. The first film was a huge success and people were keen to see more of the exploits of a secret governmental agency that polices alien activities on earth.

Lets get the plot out of the way first. Set 5 years after the first film, Agent J (Will Smith) is on his own after wiping the memory of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), his mentor, at the end of the original movie. His new partners have never been any good and he's neutralised more than his fair share.

Things take a turn for the worse when Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a villainous alien made out of tentacles arrives on Earth. She takes the form of a Victoria Secret catalogue model and starts to hunt down the whereabouts of the Light of Zartha, killing alien informants along the way. This leads her into the path of J, and to the Men In Black headquarters. The now retired, Agent K, hid the location of the Light of Zartha 25 years ago.

So all, Agent J has to do to save the planet is simple; find Agent K (now working as a post office master in a small New England town), restore his memory, find the whereabouts of the Light of Zartha and stop Serleena destroying Earth. All in a days work.

This is a simple plot outline as the film is very similar to the first - Alien hunting something on Earth, Planet in jeopardy if the alien finds it, only Agents J and K can stop it. Because Men In Black II is so similar to the original, it doesn't feel as fresh or dare I say it, as funny. There are many chuckles but not really stand out bits.

Performance wise, Will Smith carries on from the last film in exactly the same style. Tommy Lee Jones is good as always, he can look funny just by standing in a pair of post man's shorts and is the epitome of a super-cool agent. Rip Torn (what kind of name is that?) is back as Z, head of MIB. He's great as always and is one of the funniest people in the film. Lara Flynn Boyle's role could have been played by anyone (with breasts) as its fairly undemanding - just a lot of walking around, pouting and baring cleavage (not that I'd complain about cleavage!). Surprisingly Johnny Knoxville, as the idiotic two-headed henchman of Serleena, is very funny, with the two heads bickering at each other. Knoxville is better known as one of the 'stars' of MTV's Jackass.

The other 'star' of the film is the special effects, especially the alien creatures created by make-up effects guru Rick Baker. Alien freaks, chicken people, worm guys and a whole menagerie of creatures pop up through out the film. There is even a cameo by the freak of pop Michael Jackson (who looks more made up than the creatures - in real life).

There are some strange plot holes the biggest being where does Johnny Knoxville's character disappear to halfway through the film? No explanation or logic for it at all.

For all its negative points, Men In Black II is good, just not as good as the original. A photocopy if you will. At 82 minutes long it's a like a low calorie drink. It's a light romp, and the ideal summer popcorn film - turn brain off and ease slowly into the MIB world again. If they ever make a third, they will have to come up with something fresher.

Score 6/10