Time: 88 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence
Tommy Lee Jones as Kevin Brown/Agent K
Will Smith as James Darrell Edwards III/Agent J
Rip Torn as Chief Zed
Lara Flynn Boyle as Serleena
Johnny Knoxville as Scrad/Charlie
Rosario Dawson as Laura Vasquez
Tony Shalhoub as Jack Jeebs
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) and Jay (Will Smith) reunite to provide our best line of defense against a seductress who levels the toughest challenge yet to the MIBs mission statement: protecting the earth from the scum of the universe. While investigating a routine crime, Jay uncovers a plot masterminded by Serleena (Boyle), a Kylothian monster who disguises herself as a lingerie model. When Serleena takes the MIB building hostage, there is only one person Jay can turn to — his former MIB partner.
Men in Black was such a hit when it came out back in 1997, inevitably it would be getting a sequel. However, Men in Black 2 just didn’t live up to the first movie and really pales in comparison. It’s not terrible by any means, and it’s still rather entertaining. After watching the first two movies in one night though, you can clearly see the downgrade.
With the (spoiler alert) ending of the previous movie with Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) having his memory erased, the sequel really needed to bring him back, it really does undo a bit of the impact from the ending of the first movie. However, it was kind of inevitable, the paring of Kay and Jay (Will Smith) is what made the first movie especially good and stand out. The plot is about Kay having to remember certain things, even after regaining his memory of himself. The plot in the first movie wasn’t fantastic by any means but the plot in this movie just feels rather underwhelming in comparison, like they’re just backtracking and isn’t really that exciting. Much of Men in Black 2 recycles many of the stuff from the first movie and doesn’t do anything too special. While there was still quite a bit of humour that I liked, some of it didn’t feel as fresh. Not that it’s a massive downgrade, it’s just a cut below how funny the first movie was. The previous movie is just under an hour and 40 minutes long, surprisingly Men in Black 2 is less than 90 minutes long, and it really feels like it. While it doesn’t even need to be like 2 hours long, it could’ve had more happening in it, because as it is, it felt a little empty.
The best part about this movie unsurprisingly is Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Their chemistry is still just as good as in the first movie and they worked well, especially with the dynamic between them. Rosario Dawson is a great actress but despite her having a somewhat important role in the movie, really doesn’t get to do much unfortunately. She’s not bad at all but is just sort of a plot device and nothing more. The villains of Men in Black are a little weird but mostly work, that is to say that 2/3 of them work, and the missing third is from Men in Black 2. Lara Flynn Boyle plays some shapeshifting alien seductress with tentacles, who takes the appearance of a lingerie model. It’s just painful watching her on screen, Boyle really doesn’t have anything to do here except act threatening and sexy, really among my least favourite parts of the movie. Also, Johnny Knoxville is here for some reason and I really would’ve preferred that he wasn’t. Oh and also Michael Jackson shows up at one point for some reason.
Barry Sonnefeld returns to direct and one of the things going for the movie is that it still feels like a Men in Black movie, even if many of the other aspects are weaker than the first movie. The visual effects in the first movie were a little dated but even the weaker effects were at least entertaining in a campy way. With the sequel, somehow the effects have aged much worse, embarrassingly so. I guess they wanted to go bigger, and certain action scenes are bigger and involve larger things happening, but as you can probably already tell the effects on them don’t look particularly good. I’ve seen worse for sure though, and after a while you can get over it.
Men in Black 2 wasn’t that good, while it doesn’t do anything particularly terrible (outside of the effects), it feels like a rehash of the previous movie, only not done quite as well. I probably do like it more than most people who’ve seen it though. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are still good and there are some entertaining bits to it. If you’re a fan of the first movie you might like the second one, worth giving it a shot at the very least.