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Feature: Men in Black 2 Preview

Men in Black II

J to K: “Relax. You're about to be de-neuralized” US release 3 July
UK release 2 August


"I'm amazed that Sony figured out a way to make Men in Black 2 at a cost that isn't insane" quips director Barry Sonnenfeld…

The Story
Having had his memory wiped at the end of Barry's Sonnenfeld's 1997 tongue-in-cheek Men in Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has gone to work for the US postal service under his true name – Kevin. Meanwhile, Agent J (Will Smith) has taken on his role as the experienced, seen-it-all one... Then J uncovers a diabolical plot masterminded by Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), an evil Kylothian monster disguised as a sexy lingerie model. When Serleena takes the entire MiB building hostage there is only one person left at large who J can turn to...

The Talent
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back to star in this long-awaited sequel. Director Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, Men in Black, Wild Wild West, Big Trouble) was delighted when the project was green-lit. "I'm amazed that Sony figured out a way to make Men in Black 2 at a cost that isn't insane, and still got us all to come back," he quips. It's hard to see exactly what the risk was, as back in the summer of 1997 the first movie made $84 million in its first six days of release.

While Linda Fiorentino will not return as Agent L, new female lead Lara Flynn Boyle appears as the MiB's arch nemesis. "I'm the villain, the bad girl, and I had a blast!" chuckles Boyle. "The role was written in a very butch way when the producers first gave me the script. But I told them that no one would buy it so it was changed. Now I have high heels and painted nails and I'm very girlie."

Other members of the cast include Patrick Warburton as Agent T, Johnny Knoxville as a two-headed alien, Rosario Dawson as Rita and Rip Torn, who returns as Chief Z. There's even a tiny cameo role for Michael Jackson...

The Hype
Filming started in June 2001 in New York and wrapped in early November. There were problems when the huge climactic scene, intended to take place around the WTC's twin towers, had to be re-shot elsewhere after the events of September 11.

"Same planet. New scum" runs the tag line, and with the huge success of the first movie, this crowd-pleasing sequel can't fail to draw excited audiences and make Sony some serious cash. Cinemas are awash with sequels and nothing seems guaranteed to put bums on seats more than familiar actors doing familiar things in familiar settings.

The Prediction
Rumour has it, from those privileged or crafty enough to have a peek at the script, that MiB2 is pretty similar to its elder brother. Still, prepare for some more sophisticated humour at least as new writer Robert Gordon was responsible for the brilliant Galaxy Quest. The well placed and intelligent comedy mainly comes from Agent K's amusing return to the world of alien defence (there's additional dialogue from Barry Fanaro, writer of The Crew).

Apparently, the alien plot is virtually the same as the first film, except that there is no alien vessel threatening to destroy the Earth. Great performances are guaranteed from the stars and hopefully from Lara Flynn Boyle, whom we welcome back to the screen after her work in Twin Peaks and Todd Solendz's Happiness. What's more, a cameo from Michael Jackson can only do them good. A sure-fire hit for Sony Pictures after a five-year wait, and certain to be fun if a little forgettable.

by Rupert Laight

Read the full preview, and get the skinny on 30 other movies coming your way during 2002-03 in:
Starburst Special #52

Feature image © Sony Pictures Entertainment
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Starburst Special #52, see below for ordering options
Starburst Special #52
Summer Movie 2002
ships from May 16 2002
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