Movie Magazine International

Men In Black

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Pete Dunn

Independence Day, July 4th: this holiday brings many different images to people when asked about it. The last two years, it's marked the opening weekend of a new Will Smith movie. Last year, it was "Independence Day" -- this year: "Men In Black" with Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, and Rip Torn.

Although better than "Independence Day," "Men In Black" did not live up to my expectations. The story is about an unknown arm of the government, the Men in Black. The "men" are a group of people who serve as an intergalactic INS. The movie has its funny moments and good special effects, but it doesn't have that little bit "extra" that makes a spectacular film. Tommy Lee Jones is fine as his role of "K" (yes, it's a letter of the alphabet), but Will Smith isn't that inspired in his role of "J" (yes, another letter of the alphabet, the one preceding "K" for those in kindergardern).

One of the problems with this movie is that it lacked suspense for me. Now, this lack of suspense had nothing to do with the writing, but with movie previews. You know what I'm talking about. Those four or five trailers of upcoming movies that they show before each feature presentation, hoping to get you to shell out another eight bucks for more films. Well, with "Men in Black," all the key "surprises" are shown in the trailer. When they came up in the movie, well, hey, I knew what would happen, so I sure as heck wasn't emotionally worried about the outcome or what would happen next. I felt like maybe I shouldn't have gone to the movie since I'd already seen the whole thing in the previews.

What can we do about this? Well, one is not to shell out our hard-earned money for movies that we've seen in the trailers. Movies like "Air Force One"... And before I go on, if you haven't seen the trailer and don't want me to spoil it for you, turn down your radio for a minute. No, for those of you still there, you know what happens: the President, his family, certain advisors and other staff are taken hostage on Air Force One after he gives a hard line anti-terrorism speech in Moscow. The terrorists demand the release of a fellow terrorist in an American prison. If he isn't released, they will start killing a hostage every half hour until he is. To prove they're serious, the President's security advisor is killed after the first half hour. There are some intense scenes with the head of the terrorist group and the President. Through astute observation and his military background, the President escapees from his holding area. The terrorists decide to play hard ball and separate the President's family from the rest of the hostages. The president starts creating havoc and rescues the main group of prisoners, who parachute out of the plane. The President stays on the plane to save his wife and daughter. In the course of the night, American troops try to shoot down the plane on the President's orders, but fail. We know this because later in the trailers you see the plane heading directly towards the White House in pure daylight!

OK, I bet I've taken you through the major plot points of the first two-thirds of the movie, and saved both you and me eight dollars because I haven't seen this movie, only the trailers released by the studio.

I'd be really curious to hear what, you, the listening audience, feel about this phenomenon. Please email me, Pete Dunn in care of Movie Magazine International. I would really like to hear what you think.

Oh, and as for "Men In Black" -- why go? You've already seen the best parts in the previews.

© 1997 - Pete Dunn - Air Date: 07/97

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