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"Men in Black-II"

IMAGINE THIS — you have aliens walking around, but the ordinary mortal cannot see them. Most of them are harmless and go about their life on earth like all normal folks, but there is always a bad egg. And this one is real bad. And she is a female. And a control freak. All she wants to do is to steal the `light' so that she can be the Supreme Being and generally be the boss. But is that acceptable? Definitely not, which is why there is a policing force comprising Men In Black, that keeps such upstarts in check and maintains peace in the general diversity of all beings. A surmise that first came about five years ago and was a supremely successful venture on celluloid.

Adapted from the Malibu comic characters created by Lowell Cunningham, the film went to be a huge success.

Now, the same Men In Black make a reappearance to contain the diabolical plot of sinister Serleena, a kylothian monster, who disguises herself as a lingerie model.

Besides, it has been four years since the intergalactic super cops have averted a disaster of epic proportions. And Agent Kay (TommyLee Jones) and Agent Jay (Will Smith) have to protect the earth once more. Which comes about while investigating a seemingly routine crime. And it's a race against the clock because there is only so much time before the earth is destroyed and Jay must convince Kay who is now leading a fairly mundane life with no memory of his actual role in the scheme of things. He is essential to this mission because he is the only one who can save the galaxy.

Barry Sonnenfeld's "Men In Black II" is the type of movie (story — Robert Gordon) that makes no effort at hiding its intentions. They made a witty feature earlier and seeing its success have come up with a sequel, which is fiction at its imaginative best.

Those who saw the first one will see this one too because, despite its supposedly serious mission that it talks about, there is enough droll wit that will keep audiences amused right through.

The satirical quality of the computerised aliens and the world they inhabit, and not to forget the talking pug, all go to make this film worth viewing once.

The quality of the creatures the makers (John Berton — visual effects supervisor, Rick Baker — alien make-up effects) have created, is incredibly good and you end up warming up to some of them even if they are pretty hideous to look at. The worms especially, which are actually the antithesis of what is expected of a hard worker — they smoke, take long breaks, are obnoxious and are only interested in having a good time.

As for the creature, Serleena, her snaking, forking multi-hands that coil effectively around the opponent, is something to watch if one can stomach it.

If the wry humour between Kay and Jay is passable, the adorable pug Frank, which is also one of the policing forces, makes up for it enormously in the parts it appears.

As for the others, such as irrepressible MC Biz Markie, the two headed side-kick (Johnny Knoxville), and other aliens that comprise this film, they just add up to the incredulous theme without seeming too much out of place.

Though coming after the array of several special effects-ridden films this year, it does not seem very special. Will Smith as Jay gives a decent performance and stretches the comic moments further than most would have been able to, given the dialogues on hand. Tommy Lee Jones, the veteran actor, does well but looks so haggard most times that you wish the makers had left him alone. But he does a good job nevertheless.

This Columbia Tristar / Amblin Entertainment Production venture, has its screenplay by Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro.

CHITRA MAHESH

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