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Film Reviews Blog: ‘Men In Black 3,’ A Retro Blast

By Mikhail Chernyavsky
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It’s been 15 years since Agent K recruited Agent J into the “Men In Black,” and 10 years since we’ve seen them in action.

Now the duo is back with all the shiny weapons and aliens; but unfortunately, they are still lacking the charm which made them so fun to watch in the first film.

They’ve been partners for 14 years and seem father apart than they did the first time around.

At its simplest, “Men In Black” is a buddy cop film with aliens. Great banter is key to any successful buddy cop comedy, but in this franchise that hasn’t been replicated since the first film.

Forget anything you remember from “Men In Black II” because all character and plot developments were thrown out. In fact, based on Tommy Lee Jones’ performance, you would think that he never recruited Will Smith’s Agent J, but merely got stuck with him as a partner.

Agent K seems to only act cold just to set up the fact that Agent J wants to know why he is the way he is, even though they’ve been together for nearly a decade and a half. The good news though is the audience is only subject to Jones’ poor performance for a fraction of the film before Agent J travels back in time to save the Earth from Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement), when the film really picks up speed.

Jones’ performance reflects that of an unwilling child forced to clean his room. It’s as if he’s bored and just going through the motions for the sake of getting that allowance.

Smith’s performance is on par with what you’d expect from the franchise. It’s nothing outstanding, but the lazy comedic dialog gives the Fresh Prince an old and tired feel. Saying an ugly alien must be from Planet Damn, just isn’t funny. However, if you’re a fan of his, then you’ll enjoy his goofy performance that most have come to love from these films. After all, it’s just a film for entertainment’s sake.

The film’s saving moments come from Clement’s Boris and Josh Brolin as a Young Agent K.

Clement, of Flight of the Conchords fame, pulls off a wonderfully weird and creepy alien. He’s arrogant, socially awkward around humans (like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Edgar in the first film), and has the perfect evil laugh, which looks more like windup chattering teeth.

The other saving grace of the film is that Young Agent K shows us a new side to the character. We still see that serious young man we’ve come to know through Jones’ K but with some naivety and hope for making a difference though his job.

Brolin’s performance is incredibly entertaining and spot on as you watch him play Jones playing Agent K.

You can tell Director Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed all three MIB films, has with the 1960s. The film pokes fun at history, revealing that Andy Warhol is an Agent. The racial and cultural jokes are funny, but don’t cross the “adult humor” line — and even the aliens displayed in the past reflect those of the cheap looking aliens sported in the sci-fi films from that decade.

Overall, “Men In Black 3” feels less like a sequel and more like a stand alone film with little connection to the previous two movies.

I doubt any “Men In Black” sequel will ever be as good as the original, but even with it’s slow start, this film is entertaining and is worth the watch.

Like many films today, it’s presented in 3-D; and even though I’m not a fan of the hop-off-the-screen trend, MIB3 has had the best use of the technology that I’ve seen so far. However, if you’re not in love with 3-D, it’s still not worth the extra dollars.

Check out “Mark At The Movies” to see Mark S. Allen’s interview with Jones and Smith.

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