Film review: Men In Black 3By Andre Langlois
November 21, 2012
Look, it’s derivative, lightweight and a waste of real talent. But if you have two hours in which to switch off then there’s worse out there. Even so, as it ends you wonder if the film makers imagine you will actually care.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back. It’s 1997 and sunglasses and dark suits have just been invented. Will Smith has finished boom shaking the room and is running around shooting things.
Tommy Lee Jones has become a box office draw after picking up an Oscar for a supporting role in a Harrison Ford vehicle.
Here’s the pitch. There’s a secret police, the men in black, accountable to no one, taking care of business, protecting the world from aliens. It’s okay though because you don’t know about them and if you do, you won’t for long. Besides, they’re not the Stasi, they’re the good guys.
The film put Smith’s mammoth charisma on every lunch box in the world until it creaked under its own weight. Jones plugged away until he fell into the perfect role in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men which, coincidently, also starred Josh Brolin, who here does a wonderful Tommy Lee Jones impression.
Let me explain – it’s time travel. Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords made up so heavily and gurning so hard as to render his charm impotent) escapes from prison.
He has history with Agent K (Jones) so he goes back in time to kill him. Agent J (Smith) figures this out and follows him back. So far, so Terminator.
Brolin is the young K and what you get is a fish out of water look at 1969 – like Back to the Future but without the intelligence.
It drives towards an emotional climax except, of course, there’s so much CGI that it’s impossible to believe the characters feel emotion.
It’s like trying to empathize with Snap, Crackle and Pop. Mention should be made of Michael Stuhbarg as Griffin, a man who sees into the future(s) and who provides the only real moments of poignancy.
The film is unnecessary, but then again most sequels are and it’s not without laughs. And maybe, just maybe, I have been unfair – if you’re a 12-year-old boy this might even be fun.