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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Men in Black II (Superbit) (2002)

"Silly little planet. I could rule it with the right set of mammary glands."
- Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 27, 2003

Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith
Other Stars: Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Tony Shaloub, Johnny Knoxville, Patrick Warburton, Rosario Dawson, David Cross, Peter Graves, Tim Blaney
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some provacative humor
Run Time: 01h:28m:01s
Release Date: May 13, 2003
UPC: 043396091559
Genre: action comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B-A-A+ D-

DVD Review

Men In Black II, directed once again by Barry Sonnenfeld, follows the rule of diminishing return with regard to sequels, and while it is certainly big, loud, colorful and often very funny, there is an undeniable aura of "been there, done that" to the whole proceeding. As a followup to Sonnenfeld's 1997 film, this installment parades out many of the same characters, and puts them through similar paces and antics, amidst some wholly impressive visual effects sequences.

The story takes place five years after the events of the original, with former agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) obliviously spending his days as a postmaster in some picturesque backwater town after being neuralized at the end of Men In Black. Kay's former partner Agent Jay (Will Smith), still working for that secret branch of the government that has been created to monitor the comings and goings of alien life, finds himself investigating another seemingly routine event that may turn out to mean the cataclysmic destruction of Earth. Again.

This time it's a nasty Kylothian beastie (picture a mass of undulating snakes) named Serleena who is in search of the mysterious Light of Zartha, which if not found will result in Earth being vaporized. The Kylothian takes the form of a sexy lingerie model (in the form of Lara Flynn Boyle in a push-up bra), and teams up with her two-headed partner Scrad (Johnny Knoxville) in order to track down the coveted item. located somewhere in New York City. Jay has to drag his old partner out of neuralized retirement, because Kay is the only one who knows where the good old Light of Zartha is located. Or does he?

While the first film was full of refreshing surprises (both in terms of character development and visuals), Men In Black II suffers sequel-itis and lacks that keen element of newness and originality, and instead at times feels more like a prolonged episode of a mega-budget television series. The visual effects are no less stunning here (they really are amazing), but the larger-than-life scenarios seem like simple variations on what we saw in Men In Black: Will Smith's Kay wisecracks during a battle with a big creature, Frank The Dog talks, Tony Shaloub's Jeebs has his head blown off, the MIB car races uncontrollably through mid-town New York, the MIB office is chock full of wacky aliens, etc. The sequences are exceptionally well done, from an effects standpoint, but they feel more like retreads than anything else.

Don't get me wrong, Men In Black II is a fun bit of well-crafted escapism. The problem is that it in stealing from itself, it just isn't particularly original.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This release is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and while the question of whether or not the higher bit rate of the Superbit titles are really "all that" is still open for debate, there's no denying that the transfer here is a beauty. Colors are exceptionally deep and vivid, as are the rock solid black levels. This isn't a flawless transfer, however, because some instances of minor edge haloing is evident in spots, though far less than what is found on most non-Superbit titles.

Not a Superbit reference disc, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: As with most Superbits, audio is available in either 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS. While there is a negligible difference between the two tracks, both are truly outstanding. The mixes are very active and aggressive, with loads of swirling discrete rear channel cues and bursts of Danny Elfman's loud, boisterous score. Dialogue is sharp and clean, with the front channels showing off plenty of sweeping directional pans that help to build a full, engaging soundstage. And make sure you secure all wall hangings securely in your room, because the LFE signal really thunders and booms. A lot.


Audio Transfer Grade: A+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Being a Superbit release, there are no extras to be found here. Columbia TriStar did, however, issue a fine standard two-disc set, so if you want supplements you'll need to pick up that release.

The disc is cut into a healthy 28 chapters.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A bit derivative and repetitive, but fans of the first film will probably find this one a pleasing diversion.

As is the rule, the Superbit collection lacks the extras found on the loaded two-disc release, but the addition of a booming DTS track here might be enough to tip the scales.


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