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MEN IN BLACK (1997)- PG13

A top-secret government agency, dubbed simply as "MiB" (Men in Black),' keeps tabs on the space aliens living among us.When "Agent K" finds himself in need of a partner, he sets about prepping the brash NYPD official, James Edwards, known now as "Agent J." Together, the two set about uncovering the most recent in deadly intergalactic terrorist plots, which includes the search for "Orion's Belt" and one gross-out battle with the Bug-Man himself. If unstopped, however, the villain will assassinate two competing galaxies' ambassadors, potentially provoking an all-out, intergalctic war.

The cast includes: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn, and Tony Shalhoub.

Steven Spielberg was the Executive Producer.

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

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"More secretive than the C.I.A. - More powerful than the F.B.I.
And they're looking for a few good men - They are the Men in Black!"

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A secret government agency that polices aliens living secretly in New York under an unknown sanctuary program have their hands full.

MEN IN BLACK tells of one hilarious, but adventuresome case of two agents, J & K (Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones) of the Men In Black secret alien maintenance organization. After Senior partner, K, recruits a tough, street-wise young police detective, James Edwards, who passes all the agency's tests, they find themselves on the trail of a hit man giant cockroach (Vincent D'Onofrio) named "the Bug" by K, coming to kill the Alien prince, Rosenburg (Mike Nussbaum), hiding in New York. The Bug is disguised in a human skin, worn like a suit, that was taken from a farmer, Edgar, (Also Vincent D'Onofrio), who wound up being the bug's snack, upon landing his spaceship on top of the farmer's truck. K & J try to find the cryptic, mysterious, powerful galaxy, property of the dying Arquillan prince, who said they could find it on an unknown object, Orion's belt, located somewhere in New York, before "the Bug" does, and stop the Bug before he succeeds in his evil assignment. Survival of earth depends on them doing so, not to mention the survival of the Prince's alien people.

The Special Animation & Visual Effects, (by Industrial Light & Magic) and the Alien Make-up Effects, (by Baker) were really a creative asset, giving realism and believability to the film. The Alien airport customs scene was a hoot, featuring space creatures created in a very fertile imagination. The music, by Danny Elfman, creatively sets the mood, helps define the moment and enhances the action of the scenes.

There are many memorable scenes, many very funny moments, some even blended into the suspenseful action sequences. The opening credits, which follows the journey of a big dragonfly, is used to transition into the opening scene, when the bug splats onto the windshield of the coyote's truck. The titles of other great scenes are Nick's Catch, Mikey, Edward's foot chase, Customs and confiscated gadgets, Mr & Mrs. Redgick, Bug in the kitchen, the morgue scenes, and ending battle with the giant cockroach scene.

The screenplay by Ed Solomon, stays away from the typical UFO fare, and is described as being "Absolutely hilarious, remarkably clever and hip," and avoids the comic book's darker, more violent tone. The Director, Barry Sonnenfeld, uses his unique "visual and comic flair," really catching the spirit of the script, bringing its creative storyline and funny dialogue to life. When K hauls an illegal space alien, Mikey, who was disguised as a Mexican, off the coyote's truck, K barks at Mikey, "Raise your hands -- and all of your flippers!" Mikey dutifully complies as he tries to tap dance in his alien language out of trouble, as to why he was illegally traveling outside the restricted area.

Another example of Solomon's great direction, is the sequence of scenes showing the interview process that M.I.B. Chief Zed put all the applicants for the M.I.B. service through. The other applicants and Zed are the perfect straight men for Will Smith's antics and lines.

Tommy Lee Jones (K), who says his lines with a completely straight face, and Will Smith (J), the street-wise M.I.B. in training, had great chemistry & comedic timing, and were perfectly cast as the serious senior agent K, and the bold, quick thinking but flippant, wise-cracking junior agent, J.

A lively supporting cast also adds to the excitement, humor, suspense of the film. Linda Fiorentino is great as the Morgue doctor, who gets kidnapped by the "Bug," Vincent D'Onofrio makes a terrific, villainous Bug, and Rip Torn does a good job as the M.I.B. Chief Zed.

Siobhan Fallon has a small but funny role, as the hapless wife of Edgar, Beatrice.

Tony Shalhoub has a small alien role as Jeebs, the crooked pawn shop owner, who had sold an alien gun to the first alien assassin that J as a N.Y.P.D. police officer, had chased down and cornered on top of a building.

Screenplay by: Ed Solomon - Based on the Malibu Comic by: Lowell Cunningham. Director of Photography: Don Peterman. Special Animation & Visual Effects: Industrial Light & Magic. Alien Make-up Effects: Rick Baker.

"Men In Black" is a very entertaining film, that is a great way to have a good time. Young or sensitive children may be frightened by the dastardly Bug, especially the climatic battle scenes when this huge cockroach sheds his Edgar suit to do battle with our heroes.

If you enjoyed M.I.B. you may like WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?, THE LAST STARFIGHTER, and/or GALAXY QUEST.

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