Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pawny Is Great, but 'MIB: International' Is Not

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pawny Is Great, but 'MIB: International' Is Not

Article excerpt

If you walk out of "Men in Black: International" thinking you'd seen it all before, it's not déjà vu.

It's 1997.

"International" is the original "Men in Black" only with European backdrops, more aliens and less sexism. That's right, someone even mentions "Women in Black," bringing the franchise all the way into 2019. At least in concept.

"MIB: International" features a hotshot rookie determined to, if not save the world, at least prove herself to the experienced agent who takes her under his wing. If that sounds familiar, except for the female pronoun, it should since it's the basis of 1997's "Men In Black" with Will Smith as the hotshot rookie and Tommy Lee Jones as the veteran agent.

For the unfamiliar, the Men in Black are in charge of monitoring all aliens who visit, or move to, Earth, using lethal force when necessary to keep the peace.

Tessa Thompson is Agent M, whose childhood encounter with an alien revealed to her the existence of the MIB and, eventually, her infiltration of headquarters. Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") is the wisecracking and quickly tiresome Agent H, a role that will make you long for Jones' straight-laced Agent K.

Thanks to what seems to be comprehensive alien-immigration reform, the Earth is one big Star Wars cantina. Not only have extra-terrestrials successfully assimilated as earthlings, they have their own clubs, their own technology and even their own subway system in which trains travel through rat-free hyperspace tunnels. Separate and totally unequal.

The plot revolves around a superweapon successfully smuggled onto Earth and sought by the Hive, the universe's most lethal species bent on conquering galaxies one by one. Agents H and M (the clothing store, get it?) first stumble across it and then are charged with safeguarding it by the unfortunately named High T (Liam Neeson with hair set to dark and lush).

H and M are relentlessly pursued by two indestructible aliens who can turn solids into liquids, a power resulting in some of the film's best special effects. …

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