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Men In Black 11



In a summer of lacklustre sequels (Goldmember) and half baked cartoon adaptations (Scooby Doo), I must confess my hopes weren't high for this particular movie. Not being a huge fan of the 1997 original and being one of the few people in the world who find Will Smith intensely annoying, I will admit to a certain amount of trepidation upon entering the cinema.

Five years have passed since the exploits of the first episode and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is working in blissful ignorance as a postmaster in a backwoods town in Massachusetts, having had his memories of being an MIB agent wiped. His rookie partner, J (Will Smith), meanwhile has taken on his old mentor's mantle as the world-weary, grizzled operative, forever barking at junior agents who fail to meet his standards. 

A seemingly routine investigation uncovers a sinister plot, set in motion over twenty years previously, that could mean the entire destruction of the Earth. Unfortunately for J, the only agent who has any information about the events of the past is K - and he can't remember anything, thanks to being 'neuralysed' at the end of  the first movie. So, Smith sets off on a quest to bring his old partner back into the MIB fold, restore his memory and, hopefully, save the planet.

Now, it's fair to say that nobody can do grizzled the way Tommy Lee Jones can. From his first scenes in the yokel post office to his later scenes, back in the famous black suit, he oozes grouchiness and tetchiness. His expressions upon being told by Smith that he is, in fact, a former intergalactic agent whose job it was to 'protect the earth from the scum of the universe' are absolutely priceless. In fact, they're only matched by Smith's range of exasperated glances and twitches towards Jones as he tries desperately to get him to believe. Will Smith has certainly grown as an actor since the original and this has helped the chemistry between the two leads enormously.

Support-wise, Lara Flynn Boyle plays Serleena, the shape-shifting Alien who is behind the plot and Johnny Knoxville plays her two-headed henchman (or should that be men?). This pairing also provides an improvement on the original's lone villain (played by Vincent D'Onofrio), with some wonderful interchanges between the two bad guys.

But it's really the special effects that take centre stage here. Taking in everything from a talking dog to a flying Mercedes Benz to a subway train being chased by an enormous worm eating all in it's path. But it's a credit to Barry Sonnenfeld's assured direction that never once do the effects detract from the story being told and the characters growing throughout the movie. It's also a tribute to Sonnenfeld's story-telling skills that the whole movie is wrapped up in a lean 88 minutes. Now, some may say that a 21st century feature film has no business being as short as this but, believe me, this movie hits the ground running, does it's stuff and then wraps up before it ever has time to wear out it's welcome.

A vast improvement on the original - and I haven't even mentioned the dog's fantastic cover version of 'I Will Survive'!



Pictures from official web site click to visit