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Men in Back... in time
Men in Black 3 (DVD)
Member Name: Dentolux
Men in Black 3 (DVD)
Advantages: Josh Brolin's portrayal of K, creative creature effects.
Disadvantages: Some unfunny jokes, Jones and Smith seem to be just going through the motions.
When the movie opens we are introduced to the principal villain - Boris the Animal. For the past forty years he's been confined to a lunar prison, but he manages to escape his incarceration with the aid of his main squeeze played by Pussy Cat Dolls lead singer Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente Scherzinger (a moniker that long must be of alien origin.) Once freed Boris decides to exact his revenge on the man responsible for his imprisonment - Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones.) His plan for vengeance involves travelling back to 1969 and assassinating K (on the year when they first crossed swords.) Sounds like a rather convoluted idea, until you realise that modifying the future would restore the arm Boris lost during their first encounter.
The only thing that can save K from demise is his partner Agent J (Will Smith) who is tasked with intercepting Boris in the sixties before the villain manages to modify the time stream. Failure is not an option as it would result in a future were Earth is enslaved by Boris' race and J getting addicted to chocolate shakes. I have to say that I was relieved when the story switched to 1969 as the present day sequences followed the standard MIB formula that I wasn't fond off. Seeing J and K bust a Chinese restaurant for breaking health and safety regulations by serving alien cuisine was supposed to be funny, but it barely managed to register a chuckle from the cinema goers viewing the film with me. Humour is subjective, but when the gags fall flat with an audience encompassing numerous age groups you know something is wrong.
Part of the reason why I disliked the start of the movie may have been Tommy Lee Jones. Given his acting pedigree I was expecting more than the disinterested performance we got. Jones only features briefly during the first and final acts which makes me feel like he was just phoning it in to score an easy cheque. Although I'm not an advocate of plastic surgery, after spying his wrinkly facial features, I would suggest that he spends some of those movie millions on getting a face lift.
Agent J is the hero of the piece and his portrayal can be summed up as Will Smith playing Will Smith. That's not as bad as it sounds though as Smith is a rather charismatic fellow. That's partially why he endeared himself to audiences during his blockbuster star heyday. All that said it would have been nice had he put more effort into the role as, judging from other movies, it is clear that the former rapper can act and is capable of more than what we got. His nemesis, Boris the Animal, initially appears to be an interesting antagonist but is sadly not given enough screen time to develop his character. In the end all we get is a two dimensional bad guy who only wants revenge and doesn't bat an eyelid at betraying his allies.
The star of the show, in my eyes, would have to be Josh Brolin who is perfectly cast as a young Agent K. Brolin not only resembles Tommy Lee Jones in appearance, but he manages to pull off an exceptional impersonation of K as well. Based off his mannerisms and quotes I could instantly buy that he was younger version of Agent J's partner. For many fans it's the dynamic between J and K that carries the Men in Black films and thankfully Brolin is able to reproduce this relationship with his take on the character. His version of K remains a man who keeps his distance and stringently follows the rules, but as a younger less jaded agent he does show moments of warmth which adds a new dimension to the J and K pairing.
The general consensus seems to be that Men in Black 3 is inferior to the first film, but an improvement over its predecessor. I however enjoyed this third instalment a little more than the original, although that may be due to the fact that I am a sucker for time travel stories. Either way, if you have enjoyed the previous films in the series I can recommend this latest offering. Setting the story in the sixties gives a fresh lease of life to proceedings as the protagonists are forced to adapt to an environment they are not familiar with. J for example has to interact with a society that is less racially tolerant than he is accustomed to. The setting also lends itself to pop culture references and allows the script writers to poke fun at the contrasts in technology between the ages. It's a hoot seeing how they poke fun at the trend of miniaturising technology (so for example a handheld device for wiping memories turns into a body sized chamber in the sixties.)
It is however hard to overlook certain weaknesses which may have been the result of the decision to commence filming without a complete script. Some of the set pieces don't make a lick of sense and there are a few plot holes. These short comings get disguised with a fast paced plot which gives the viewer little time to dwell on things as you are constantly bombarded with creative alien designs, visual effects and action. I did start to lose interest towards the end, but a touching finale which explores why K is so cold towards his partner rescued the movie for me. The end result is a movie that isn't anything special, but still manages to be entertaining. I wouldn't rush out to watch a Men in Black 4, but Josh Brolin's take on Agent K would make me want to sample a prequel showing the character's exploits during the seventies.
Summary: For a movie about aliens it's alright but nothing out of this world.