Men in Black II
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub
Many years ago, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) hid the light of Zartha from the Kylothians. But now K is retired, his memory is wiped and the Kylothians, headed by Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), threaten to destroy the earth if they don’t get the light. So Agent J (Will Smith) gets K back from retirement and together they try to find K’s memory and save the world.
I remembered that the second film wasn’t as good as the first one, but I still liked it. That is, until this re-watch. They sucked the fun out of the premise, replaced it with sexism and hoped that nobody would notice. Unfortunately, I did.
The production design was really disappointing – there were so few aliens and the few they did have were just boring. And when they weren’t completely boring (the looks as well as their behavior), they were just really, really sexist – starting with Serleena, then the people in the locker box and the alien cockroaches with their cracks about Laura (Rosario Dawson). Ugh.
The sexism was just generally really fucking disgusting – and it all peaks in the “character” of Laura – not only that she basically doesn’t have a personality, making the romance with J weirder than weird, but it actually turns out that [SPOILER] she’s the
MacGuffin Light of Zartha [/SPOILER] stripping her of any personhood she might have had, while at the same time taking her free will – decisions are exclusively made for her.
In short, the script just sucks. But despite the best attempts by Barry Fanaro and Robert Gordon to really destroy not only this film, but the entire franchise in one swoop, there are small moments that work. Thanks to Will Smith’s and Tommy Lee Jones’ performances. I mean, Tommy Lee Jones manages to even make the line “It rains because you’re sad, baby.” almost touching.
But still. Men in Black II is a catastrophe that is best forgotten.
Summarising: Just no.