Men In Black (1997)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Reissue)
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Overall Rating 71%
Overall Rating
Ranked #222
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Connections: Men In Black

After a police chase with an otherworldly being, a New York City cop is recruited as an agent in a top-secret organization established to monitor and police alien activity on Earth: the Men in Black. Agent Kay and new recruit Agent Jay find themselves in the middle of a deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. --TMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: March 19, 2012
In the late 90's, Will Smith followed the incredibly successful Independence Day with the equally loved Men in Black. Saving the world from aliens two years in a row not only rocketed the man to superstardom, but it gave us two damned good movies in the process.

It's just another day in the life of NYPD detective James Edwards as he chases down a perp booking it through the streets of New York. The guy's got some weird traits including an extra set of eyelids and the ability to run straight up a skyscraper wall, but Edwards still manages to corner the guy on top of the building. As he's moving in for the arrest, the guy warns him of the impending apocalypse and leaps to his death. Naturally, the story is met with derision by his fellow cops at the station, but a unidentified man in a black suit appears out of nowhere and shows quite a bit of interest in the story. He listens intently, and brings the detective to a pawn shop in one of the seedier parts of the city. When the broker seems less than cooperative, the mystery-man blows his head off, which to Edwards' amazement, immediately grows back. Realizing his unwanted patrons aren't playing games, he reveals a large collection of alien weaponry. After leaving, the man fills the detective in. He is Agent K of the MiB, a non-government secret agency that monitors and polices the existence of aliens on planet Earth. His partner has just retired, and he believes that Edwards has what it takes to be a suitable replacement. After a day to think it over, he accepts the offer, and his entire life is erased from the system. And as luck would have it, the newly dubbed Agent J has joined the fold just in time to foil the plans of a monstrous cockroach-like alien intent on destroying the planet.

What a fun movie. Fusing comedy and action beautifully, I found myself having an absolute ball. The movie revels in nothing being what it seems to be on the surface, and it does so extremely well. There's more than one twist pulled on who's an alien and what's actually secret alien technology, yet they never went to far with it. With a movie like this, that balance is absolutely integral if it's going to be a successful movie. Plus, all of the aliens look great, from Rick Baker's practical effects to the CGI. In the final battle, where the bug finally reveals itself in all of it's computerized glory, it actually looks amazing. It really makes you wonder when a movie released in '97 has better CGI than films released almost fifteen years later.

At its heart, this is just another buddy-cop movie with the grizzled veteran taking on a hotshot rookie partner. We've all seen this before, and while they can be repetitive, they can still be enjoyable if the pair has the right chemistry. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith have that chemistry. Smith's attempt at covering his amazement with obviously false bravado is standard fare with the actor, but it couples beautifully with Jones' blank stoicism. And the best part is how it works both ways. After Smith gives birth to an alien squid in the back of a car and is promptly puked on, his incredulous stare in response to Jones' monotonous "Did anything about that seem weird to you?" is hysterical. We dodged some serious bullets here, as Chris O'Donnel and David Schwimmer both turned the role down before Smith was called, as did Clint Eastwood for the role of K. On the villain side of the table, Vincent D'Onofrio likewise excels as Edgar, the hapless farmer who the bug uses as a disguise. His roaring, condescending dialogue juxtaposed with the spastic, jerky movements of a fifteen-foot cockroach squeezing into a six-foot man's skin (not to mention the great effects of said skin decomposing) gives off that intangible sense of danger every good villain needs. Perhaps even better is the few minutes before he becomes a fashion statement. I absolutely loved his performance as the borderline abusive redneck yelling at his wife. Shame he never became a bigger name, I think he has the chops for it.

I've loved this movie since the first time I ever saw it, when my uncle took me to see it in theaters. It's just a fun-filled movie with all the right people on both sides of the camera; highly recommended. 9/10.
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