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Written by: Sam Fragoso on May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 | 20 comments | Featured

I can’t quite figure out the purpose of Men In Black III, and coincidentally I’m not quite sure director Barry Sonnenfeld can either.

With a predecessor that may very well be the worst film of 2002, MIB III is a moderate improvement in a franchise that should’ve been concluded after its uproariously fun 1997 original.

Ludicrousness and an absolute disregard for the space-time continuum is to be expected in a MIB film, but this latest entry breaches a new territory of ineptness.

After Boris “The Animal” (Jemaine Clement), a ruthless alien criminal, escapes from some sort of space prison located on the moon, he goes back in time to 1969 to kill the agent that arrested him all those years ago, K (played Tommy Lee Jones). If K were to survive he would not only arrest Boris, but also implement a shield that would hinder all extraterrestrial life from ever entering Earth.

To stop this radical change in events from occurring, Agent J (Will Smith) must also go back to 1969 in order to stop Boris from ever killing his partner.

On the way to help saving K and the Universe, J works with younger K (played excellently by Josh Brolin) to help hunt down Boris and save his future self.

Whether that makes any sense will vary from person to person. But in short, time travel is a completely feasible and plausible activity.

Not much radiates from MIB III. That is, with the exception of the absorbing talent of Josh Brolin. Who not only imitates Agent K, but recreates him. Young Agent K is a kind and soft man, one that displays outwardly emotion. The reasons for why he ultimately becomes the way he does (Tommy Lee Jones), is one of the few satisfying payoffs in a film that perpetually introduces new characters and subplots with no resolution.

After the brilliance of Brolin, Sonnenfeld’s film has little fuel left to run on. Will Smith’s shtick as the witty smart-ass who has a punch line for every second of the day, is becoming actively annoying. The special effects are goofier and less stylized than ever. And the shoddy screenplay written by Etan Cohen (not to be mistaken with Ethan Coen) plunges J and K in a typical “chase after the criminal” film that neither explores new depths nor entertains. What’s worse, though, is that our protagonists are provided some of the most hackneyed dialogue to be recorded for the screen this year.

It’s sad to see a once upon a time promising franchise go down the drain. The enthralling original prided itself on intelligent screenwriting and plot that kept us engaged. MIB III simply focuses on action sequences, which are awfully underwhelming.

Then again, after Men In Black II I should’ve remembered where there is death, there’s always death.

Rating: ★½☆☆

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There are 20 comments for this post.

  1. sati on May 25, 2012 8:26 am

    The film looks silly, I’m basing it on the trailers alone. Brolin is really awesome, so I may watch this one for him if I’m very bored once it’s on DVD. Great review!

  2. Sam Fragoso on May 25, 2012 6:14 pm

    If you’re incredibly bored, bordering on going crazy, give this movie a go Sati.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Vinny on May 25, 2012 6:45 pm

    Will Smith seems to have lost a lot of the spunk he had in the first two movies. Here he seems tired and just wasn’t entertaining. Also, they really underutilized Emma Thompson!


  4. Sam Fragoso on May 25, 2012 6:50 pm

    They did indeed under utilize, to the point where mentioning the actresses is nearly unnecessary. Nice site you have, checked it out, keep up the good work.

  5. Rodney on May 26, 2012 6:59 am

    Man, that opening sentence is a ripper. Love it.

    I saw the trailer to this film when I went to see Battleship, and I groaned my way through it – although I admit Brolin’s Tommy Lee impression is pretty sweet…..

    Pity about the rest of the film.

  6. Sam Fragoso on May 26, 2012 11:29 pm

    Brolin almost makes the film worth checking out on DVD or something. But, eh, it’s just so bland and unmotivated.

  7. Alan on May 27, 2012 5:56 pm

    I figured the purpose was to capitalize on the collective fame of the cast and all the money that the original MIB made. I take it that this is living proof that sequels will suck the life out of a franchise?

  8. Sam Fragoso on May 27, 2012 9:14 pm

    It is a prime example of a film doing such harm to a franchise. But some sequels are worthwhile.

  9. Myerla on May 28, 2012 2:43 am

    I guess the film was made for $$$

    Unlikely to see this as I saw Moonrise Kingdom this week instead. Saw the first one recently which I enjoyed more than I did when I was younger.

  10. Sam Fragoso on May 28, 2012 2:41 pm

    How was Moonrise Kingdom?

  11. Myerla on May 29, 2012 3:13 am

    It was good, visually spectacular and it had a charming, sweet and engaging story.

    My review should be up soonish, been a bit lazy in writing it.

  12. Sam Fragoso on May 29, 2012 3:39 am

    I guess we have polar opposite feelings towards the film. I’m wondering what you found “engaging” about the story?

  13. Max on May 29, 2012 9:42 am

    I really wanted to see Moonrise Kingdom this weekend, but due to limited release I was stuck with not going to the movies.

    I remember the first MIB being a good bit of fun, but the second one isn’t memorable at all. I think I’ll take a pass on this one as well.

  14. Sam Fragoso on May 29, 2012 11:40 am

    I’m dying to see Moonrise Kingdom as well. Sound idea to pass on this film.

  15. ruth on May 29, 2012 6:31 pm

    I thought the trailer was funny but have a strong feeling that the best bits are in it so there’s no point in seeing the movie. From your review, sounds like it’s only worth a rental at best.

  16. Sam Fragoso on May 29, 2012 7:41 pm

    A rental at best, and those are some kind words. I vaguely remember the trailer, but I suspect you’re right.

  17. Nick on May 31, 2012 7:48 am

    “Will Smith’s shtick as the witty smart-ass who has a punch line for every second of the day, is becoming actively annoying.” Yup. That. Exactly. He and Jones really feel like an old married couple that need to call it a day.

  18. Sam Fragoso on June 2, 2012 5:41 pm

    They both can still act … just no longer in this grating franchise.

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