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sci fi

If I had a time machine and I could go back to 1999, after the release of the original Matrix, and convince the Wachowski Brothers not to make another film as long as they both lived, I would do it. The Matrix Reloaded suffered from an all flash, no substance existence when it was released back in May of this year. Critics, much like myself, saw past all the glitz and glamour of the film’s awesome special effects and found that the story became so convoluted and uninvolved that we simply were paying for a really expensive music video, or so it seemed.

The Matrix Revolutions continues on the downward trend of the series and thoroughly thrashes on the good name of the groundbreaking, original film. Revolutions is more to the point than Reloaded without such filler material as the infamously lame “Rave” scene, and inexplicably complicated vocabulary of The Architect, but in the end we get force fed so many answers the bring up twice as many questions, why even bother watching it in the first place?

Revolutions picks up directly after the events of Reloaded with Neo (Keanu Reeves) in a coma and displaced from his physical body in the real world, and the matrix. Locke (Harry Lennix) prepares for the impending battle with the machines as they breach the walls into Zion, Niobe (Jada Pickett-Smith) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) think of a way to get back to Zion and aid in the struggle for freedom. Once Neo awakens, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and he set out for the machine city where he makes a proposal to the Deus Ex Machina about a certain rogue program, Agent Smith (the awesome Hugo Weaving), detailing what will happen to both of their worlds if Smith is left unchecked.

Everything in the film sets up the final battle between Smith and Neo in a rain-drenched action sequence that rivals anything seen in the last two films, although will never compare to the amazingly intense “Lobby Scene.” For the most part Revolutions strays away from the needless battles experienced in Reloaded (the scene with 100 Agent Smiths comes to mind), but in their place the Wachowski’s finally try to bring some meaning to everything and create nothing more than a cliché, albeit mildly entertaining, storyline. The highlight of the entire film is the 20+ minute Battle for Zion with Exo-Squad inspired mechs and sentinels battling it out all while the drillers attempt to break through into the heart of the city. At least the special effects look good.

I think Warner Bros. themselves caused the damnation of the franchise by building it up so much. The original Matrix only lit up the box office with $171 million dollars domestically, a pale number when compared to Spider-Man‘s huge bow in the summer of 2002 and other films superior numbers displayed this year, namely Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo. Sure, everyone who enjoyed the first film wanted a second, but where other series set out to better themselves and create an experience that rivals that of the original (think Aliens) The Matrix resorted to the least common denominator in delivering more and more of what the people wanted, amazing special effects. The problem with this is a lot has changed in the four years since the original Matrix was released, and any number of films have either spoofed or ripped off the patented slow-motion gunplay of the Wachowski’s opening opus. Now The Matrix looks and feels tired, as though there was only enough story to fill one, maybe two, films, and they are really starting to stretch out what they are capable of doing. George Lucas has done this with Star Wars and created millions of disenchanted fans, The Matrix is no different.

Revolutions‘ biggest problem is this is suppose to be the big movie to end all movies as it wraps up one of the pinnacle trilogies ever filmed, yet when all is said and done you feel as though you have been cheated into waiting for a film you already paid for in May, and you still have nothing to show for it. Leaving The Matrix franchise to the imagination after the original film would have been much better than the images I have in my head after sitting through both Reloaded and Revolutions.

To add insult to injury everything wraps up in a neat-little-rainbow-packed package. If there ever was a Hollywood ending this is it and something that I didn’t expect. I was looking to be wowed, or at least thrown off guard with something that I didn’t expect, but instead we get a sunrise and the feeling as though two needless hours were stolen from us and one of the most prolific sci-fi franchises has been reduced to standard movie-fare with no real sense of ever needing to exist.

If there is anything to say, I am grateful that the trilogy is finally done with, and I don’t have to live with my grandiose expectations of what these films should have been. Hopefully if anyone decided to revisit the series in the future they let the appeal of these films gestate for a while before jumping back in, and if they do, be sure to bring a script rather than a whole bunch of CGI.

If it isn’t remakes of 20 year old films then companies are re-releasing 20 year old films with new footage in order to get some of that hard earned cash, but there are certain films, works of art, that a re-release is entirely warranted and this past weekend one of the most original, and scary movies to ever be released.

Alien isn’t so much scare you out of your seat scary as it is psychological scary. Here you have a group of characters enclosed on a massive, dark ship with any number of places for the creature to hide. As with similar movies in the genre characters are picked off one by one by one until a final valiant effort and a final confrontation leave the main character bloody, tired, and wanting some serious R&R. Such is Ridley’s Scott’s Alien, a movie that pioneered the genre in 1979 and entered pop culture with one of the most spoofed scenes in movie history.

Starting things off the Nostromo, a commercial freighter for the ominous “Company” picks up a distress call from a derelict spacecraft on LV426, and uninhabited, inhospitable world. After sending out an away team one member of the crew is attacked with a face-hugger, the first state of alien implantation. After the creature makes it’s dramatic appearance the aforementioned deaths of the crew begin until only Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) remains.

Having never been able to see Alien in the theaters on its original release (being that it was released four years before I was born) this was my first chance to see the film on the big screen, as opposed to DVD and rebroadcasts on FX. It was also everyone’s first chance to see some additional footage that director Ridley Scott re-spliced into the film to give it a more complete feel, and prepare everyone for the forthcoming Alien Box Set on DVD and Alien vs. Predator next year in theaters.

The charm of this film lies in the characterization of the people on board the Nostromo. Alien basically laid down the frame work for the cliché characters we see today in movies. The most interesting, besides the complete bad-ass-ness of Ripley, is Ash (Ian Holm) the ships android, or “artificial person” as Bishop likes to call them. The look of the android through the entire movie is just as menacing as the alien itself, and almost as scary because you know what he will do in the end.

For being produced in 1979 the film’s restoration keep the beauty of the sets intact with the dark, claustrophobic interiors of the Nostromo and dark reaches of space on the exterior. Surprising enough the special effects have held up quite well, for the most part. Obviously technology for special effects was fairly primitive compared to today but the alien looks just as good, if not better, than those in Alien: Resurrection, and aside from a very cheesing looking miniature running across the table after the chest-busting scene there is nothing that couldn’t be compared to Hollywood blockbusters of today where CGI has replaced quality stuntmen and women.

Seeing Alien in the theaters for the first time was a real treat for me, mainly because this was my chance to experience what my parents did at my age. Entering the theater, and seeing a packed house was also a joy as I now know that there are plenty of fans out there who respect such a great film, old or new. Every now and then you need a good blast form the past to show you have far movies have fallen from the hay-day when artistic talent was a prized possession. Alien withstood the test of time and could very well have introduced a new generation of science fiction fans to one of the holy grails of the genre.

Wanted: An extremely hot vampire capable of leaping great distances, landing on her feet, and staring you down with hypnotic blue eyes. Tight fitting leather apparel is a plus, but not needed when wearing a beautiful, black evening gown. Applicants must have a general hatred for werewolves and weakness for medial intern humans. Some disregard for vampire canon will be tolerated.

So sums everything you could want from a vampire movie featuring the lovely Kate Beckinsale as Selene a Death Dealer whose only goal is to rid the world of the werewolves. While on a hunt to destroy werewolves Selene encounters two of her enemies trailing after a human, only they don’t want to eat him, they need him for something else. Vampires and werewolves share a common bloodline, yet when the body is infected with both viruses you die. The werewolves, on the losing side of the war, are trying to develop a werewolf/vampire hybrid, which would be invincible, and the ultimate weapon in the war. Seemingly by chance, Selene falls for Michael (Scott Speedman), the human the wolves were chasing, and the story branches off from there including internal treachery and backstabbing all around.

The film does a great job of presenting itself to the audience. Director Len Wiseman has a knack for the cinematic feel with a color-barren exposition of an ancient war in modern times. The movie does borrow a great bit from action movies released in the last 10 years. The gunplay and aerobatics of The Matrix are present; the story is reminiscent of Shakespeare, and throughout the film you will notice subtle, and blatant references to other films. Still, this doesn’t detract from the film in any way, as it is still a great way to kick off the fall movie season.

Underworld seems to play around with the established vampire canon seen in movies such as Blade and TV shows such as Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Some things make sense, while others don’t seem to. While specifics may be getting a bit too nick-picky the film does a good job of staying within the reasonable bounds of believability based on the fiction. The most interesting part is the description, and origin, of Lucian (Michael Sheen) the werewolf leader who has supposedly been dead for hundreds of years.

The film does a lot of things right, and only a few things wrong. The movie does have a few slow moments, and there isn’t as much gunplay as you would expect to see after viewing the trailers and TV spots, but the final battle more than makes up for it. The last sequence had the audience roaring with delight. It has been a while since I actually heard a group of movie goers respond to an action film like that. Not even The Matrix Reloaded produced that kind of effect.

Underworld is a moderately budgeted (hence the Screen Gems banner) action film that should be very profitable for Sony. The movie knows what it is, but isn’t the action mindless romp you would have pegged to be released in mid-September. The lack of overused special effects only ads to the argument that traditional film making is far from dead, and actors, such as the talented Kate Beckinsale, make the movies for the audience. Of course I don’t think the tight leather pants hurt anyone’s opinion of the film.

The theater I went to see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in wasn’t too crowded, which was a plus. I really didn’t want a bunch of little kids screwing up the experience like the Hulk. As the credits rolled, and the all too familiar Terminator theme began to play, and I had no idea what to expect.

More than 10 years have passed since the previous Terminator hit the box office, and almost 20 years have passed since we first caught glimpse of the metal menace. This Terminator comes into the spotlight in a very different generation. Many of us who were so psyched never actually got to see the original Terminator in the theaters, and we had to sneak into the theaters thanks to older brothers or friends for the second one. As I went into the theater to sit down, I noticed that a great number of smaller children were sitting talking about the legacy of the Terminator with their parents. I guess this trilogy holds something for everyone.

In this third helping of flesh and metal, we find ourselves in the present time. After sending Arnold back the second time to destroy the T-1000 and avert John Connor’s death, it seems that August 29th, 1997 was just another day in time. There was no nuclear war, the lab containing SkyNet was destroyed, and John (Nick Stahl) lived to tell about it. However, John has now had to break contact with most of the world, becoming a drifter, still fearing the nightmares of Judgment Day. The opening scenes are very reminiscent of the previous two terminators. A big bubble, a lot of lightning, and a naked machine emerges into an unsuspecting public. However, instead of seeing a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger or Robert Patrick, we get the eye candy that is Kristanna Loken. After making her first kill, nabbing a Lexus and using only a cell phone and her voice to access the LA Unified School District database, she sets out on her mission. Our metallic hero has a bit more comedic entrance, as he attempts to find suitable clothing in a bar which is featuring a ladies night complete with male strippers. As the two cyborgs begin their missions, an injured John finds himself at an animal hospital where he is cornered and caged by Kate Brewster (Claire Danes). Miraculously, both terminators end up at the hospital at the same time, where it turns out they are both after John and Kate. Of course, that is the cue to run. Arnold grabs both of them and drives off, trying to outrun the new female T-X.

I admit, I really wasn’t looking for much out of this movie. For me, it had a lot riding against it. It’s hard to make 3 really good action packed movies with a decent story. It’s also hard to wait 10 years in between movies; public interests can change, making it hard to continue a story that had originated so many years before. And with out the direction of James Cameron and the acting talents of Linda Hamilton or Edward Furlong, the movie wouldn’t feel the same. However, many of these fears were squelched in the nearly 2 hours running time of the movie. Nick Stahl made a decent John Connor. I do wish Ed Furlong would have played him again, I kind of miss the whiny John over the dark John. Claire Danes was a good female counterpart, being the whole first-whiny-then-sort-of-badass type of character. She’s got a good set of screaming lungs too, and she proves many times throughout the movie. Kristanna Loken was definitely an eye pleasing terminator, I wouldn’t have minded getting blasted by her plasma cannon. Her facial expressions, or lack thereof, made her all the better character. Whether she was pounding Arnold into walls, or getting crushed by helicopters, or walking down the street naked, the blank effortless look on her face really helped her character. For some reason I was disappointed on how scary of a terminator she was. Robert Patrick’s T-1000 still scares the bejeebus out of me with that look of his, however the Terminatrix just wasn’t as scary. I suppose that was because I am older and that sort of thing isn’t as scary, or maybe it was because I was rarely starting at her face.

The element that absolutely made this movie for me was the visual effects. Never before in these movies was the superhuman strength of the terminators so well portrayed. In the first and second Terminators, Arnold’s strength was portrayed with throwing people through windows and taking bullets in the back. In this one, it’s shown by him being dragged through an entire building while hanging onto a speeding crane truck. It’s shown by him and the TX picking each other up, and violently throwing each other through walls, into toilets, and other breakable objects. The fight scenes between the two terminators were the best I’ve seen, and director Jonathan Mostow’s use of computer graphics was wonderfully executed, and did not interfere with the movie’s realness.

As in many movies, there were a few dislikes I had. The vast majority of them circle around that the movie was too short. Since when was a Terminator movie going to fall short of two hours? I would have gladly have sat in that theater another 40 minutes to get more character development and more action, but I guess I’ll have to wait for the T3 Super Secret Special Edition release of the DVD to get that. A few plot holes got in the way a bit, but nothing major.

All in all, it was probably the best movie of the summer yet. This summer has been somewhat of a letdown with less the than stellar Matrix and Hulk movies. Here, almost halfway through the summer blockbuster season, we come to our first big hitter. While it does have its flaws, as many movies do, it definitely was just about the best movie I’ve gone out to see this summer, although I haven’t seen 28 Days Later yet…

Legions of fans have been salivating for The Matrix Reloaded for four years since its 1999 debut in movie theaters and now in 2003 we will be given not one, not two, not three, but four new entries into the series in the forms of video games, movies, and animated shorts. Unfortunately those looking to recapture the amazement and magic of the first film won’t find it in this second installment of the series, but we can still hold out hope for the third.

The Matrix Reloaded is not a bad film, far from it in fact, but it certainly isn’t the best film it could have been with the imagination of it’s directors, Andy and Larry Wachowski. The whole movie comes off as a full notch below the original Matrix with amazing fight sequences interspersed between excruciatingly slow story progression and a total disregard for some of the events in the first movie. The MTV Spring Break Rave held in Zion and the “love triangle” only slow down the movie further. In fact the entire first half of the movie doesn’t even need to exist aside from the computer assisted fight sequences and appearance of the uber-cool Agent Smith.

With the addition of new characters and a convoluted storyline, which has more “Huh?” moments than an episode of Star Trek on a techno-babble high, the movie just never catches on with the audience and, instead, throws enough eye candy on the screen to make even the most jaded critic or patron drool on themselves in sheer awe at the physics of these sequences. But it still doesn’t make up for the fact that if you remove the fight and chase sequences from the movie you are left with a mediocre sci-fi film that could pass off as a straight to video release.

Reloaded picks up at an undetermined amount of time after the first movie. After Neo (Keanu Reeves) begins to have disturbing dreams about Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) he awaits word from the Oracle on his next step to save humanity. Just before this, as seen in Final Flight of the Osiris, the machines are drilling from the surface straight down to Zion in order to destroy the last human city. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and the gang are employed with the task of finding the “Keymaker” in order to gain access to the matrix’s mainframe and learn the truth about the program once and for all. Without giving too much away, that is basically how the plot breaks down. Sure there are a few twists here and there, but nothing unexpected, and surely nothing overly dramatic that strays from the tried and true methods of sci-fi fare.

As stated the movie isn’t bad at all, and the aforementioned fight sequences are nothing short of spectacular in technical know-how and visuals. Neo’s fight with over 100 replicas of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) is nothing short of awesome but after the battle is over it feels like it never needed to occur, as with all of the battles in the movie. At the end of The Matrix Neo tears Smith apart, literally shattering his “code,” but through Reloaded his plods in battle after battle as though he is just very good at Kung Fu. Except for his tendency to fly around Neo hasn’t changed very much even though he is “the one.”

The car chase scene, obviously sponsored by GM, is the highlight of the movie as Trinity, Morpheus, and the “Keymaker” escape in a Cadillac CTS on a busy freeway all while being shot and chased by Agents and The Twins who were so hyped and so underutilized you wonder why the parts were even written. As with everything else in the movie these new characters, including the lovely Persephone, bring the film to the least common multiple rather than raising it up to the intellectual superiority of the first film.

Reloaded never really comes into its own for the entire length of the movie. You feel as though you are being stringed along with more and more eye candy to a climatic ending but it never happens because that “climax” will supposedly happen in the third film, thereby taking even more money from the public who went into the movie with such high expectations.

Without the drool-drenched special effects the film stumbles on it’s own two feet as the story becomes so clouded from that of the first film. Maybe a desire to cater to a new audience, or a new found sense of freedom after the success of the first film caused the Wachowski brothers to craft this entry in a different light. Maybe Reloaded is simply a bridge to a much bigger, and better, story that we will see see in Revolutions this fall. Let’s just hope the last chapter in the series is able to rekindle the fire of the first.

Everyone knows the way things work with Star Trek movies. With the notable exception of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, all odd ones are mediocre, while the evens really shine. Even after the original crew moved on and made way for “The Next Generation” on the big screen, things have always been kept a constant. Regardless of how I, or any other critic rate this movie, the fans will still see it, and it will be the fans who tell the studio just how good or bad this movie is. A franchise’s fans are it’s biggest critics, and in the case of Star Trek, the critics reign supreme.

Many film critics with preview screenings, something the studios haven’t decided to let our fine website in on, had called the movie “awful,” “tedious,” and “stupid.” Furthermore, they said that Nemesis broke the “even/odd” streak that had been in place since the late 1970s. Well in my own opinion, and you can take what you want from that, Star Trek: Nemesis wasn’t the greatest Trek movie to ever be released, but it is far from the worst, and I found it entirely enjoyable from start to finish..

Star Trek: Nemesis is billed as the final journey of the Next Generation crew which essentially are broken up at the end of the movie, all for different reasons. Captain Riker (Jonathon Frakes) has been promoted (finally) and given command of the USS Titan, and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis), his new wife, will accompany him, other members of the crew are not present, but for means of keeping this review free from major spoilers I won’t get into that part.

The storyline centers around the Romulan empire, whom share a solar system with the Remans, a goblin-like race that are forced to work in the Dylithium Mines of Remus under a coat of darkness as one side of the planet always faces the sun. When the Federation is given a call by the new Romulan Praetor asking for a long-sought peace treaty, Starfleet is quick to act and send it its most experienced crew, and their captain. Once at Romulus, the Enterprise and crew are given a look at a new massive battleship, the Scimitar, created by Shinzon (Tom Hardy). It is soon discovered that that Shinzon wants nothing of peace, and has created a weapon that can destroy life on a planet in a matter of minutes, so it is up to the Picard and company to foil this new “nemesis'” plan.

The movie takes on two different storylines, but they aren’t as they seem in the trailers. The first is the main one involving Shinzon who is actually the bi-product of a past Romulan exercise to get an agent into the Federation. Shinzon is a clone of Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart), but in order for him to take over Picard’s position in Starfleet, his aging would have to be vastly accelerated, therefore he suffers from a debilitating ailment that calls for him to transfuse his DNA with that of the real Picard’s.

The second storyline, is more of a minor subplot till you get to the end of the film. The crew discovers an android on a remote planet that has been disassembled and scattered. This gives Picard, Data, and Worf a chance to try out Starfleet’s latest toy in the form of a dune-buggy mounted with particle weapons, the chances of finding one at your local dealer are slim to none at this point, but who knows what time will tell. The android, dubbed B4 (as a play on words), is a primitive prototype of Data (Brent Spiner). Since Data has evolved through the course of his 15 years on the Enterprise he is more advanced in cognitive functions than B4, but tries to make the new android learn about his world by transferring his memories.

The movies storyline itself is very well done, and series-rookie John Logan (Gladiator) has done a number on fleshing out the story and having the characters play well off of each other. The excellent rapport between the senior staff is very likable, and makes the movie enjoyable by adding a bit of humor to it all. The movie’s beginning starts off slow and it muddles through the first hour until the Enterprise crew finally realizes what Shinzon’s plan is, then the movie kicks into high gear with one of the coolest space battle sequences you will ever seen on film. The battle involves the new Reman battle cruiser and the Enterprise which is dwarfed in size compared to the massive-cloaking vessel. The battle progresses and ends with the trailer-included starship collision that cripples both vessels. While this battle sequence is full of writing flaws, many of which we have found, it is still one of the most enjoyable parts of the film.

The problem that I found with the movie was it felt cut-up. It was made publicly available that director Stuart Baird was forced to cut nearly a hour from the film to make it fit Paramount’s two hour run time, and while the movie never feels like a clip-show it still feels like there was a lot missing, most notably Shinzon’s back-story. Another notable problem was the fact that many characters are reduced to no more than a few lines. Doctor Crusher (Gates McFadden), Lt. Commander La Forge (LeVar Burton), and Worf (Michael Dorn) are reduced to bit characters and only used sparingly throughout the entire movie.

I felt that some critics were too harsh on the film, it proved to be an enjoyable experience that got me in the Star Trek mood. I felt it was especially appropriate to include characters from other series (Admiral Janeway gets the ball rolling), but with the series trying to break the Star Trek mold it created a great amount of technical flaws and plot inconsistencies. While the villain will never be the nemesis that Khan was to Kirk, the movie pays for itself with one of the coolest space battles you will ever see. So after seeing the latest “even” movie to turn out well, what does Star Trek XI have in store for us? Only time will tell, and hopefully, it isn’t a great amount of time.

Move over The Matrix? Not quite, but really darn close if you ask me, and I’m one of the biggest Matrix fans you will ever find.

What movie could be so good that I would put it up in a league right next to the holy grail of science-fiction movies packed with a great story, above-average acting, amazing fight sequences, and a dim outlook on the future that propels your mind into thought? That movie is Equilibrium, and this movie takes the cake as the biggest surprise of 2002 and my pick for sleeper hit of the year.

Only opening in the top 20 markets this weekend, Equilibrium is the story of Cleric John Preston (Christian Bale) who is a high level officer in a new world order task force in the futuristic society of Liberia where emotion has been outlawed and the human race is forced to take a drug called Prozium. The cleric are the elite and trained in a new martial art that analyzes the pattern of bullets when shot at a person and trains its personnel to move in such a way that they are never hit. This “Gun-kata” leads to a new, amazing, type of fighter after the first action sequence that has Preston kicks down a door and slides on it into a room with no lights. After a few seconds of wondering where he is the gun fight begins, if you can really call it a fight. This is also the time when the movie’s style comes into play as through the ensuing sequence only muzzle flashes expose the criminals as they are being pumped full of holes by Preston who, through a very tightly choreographed sequence, movies his hands and guns with such eloquence.

In the world without emotion these clerics and sweeper teams are given the task of locating “sense offenders” and contraband that consists of anything containing color, life, or culture, it has all been banned and the punishment for housing such materials is death.

When Preston misses a dosage of his medication he begins to feel, and see the world for what it is. Earlier he had arrested a sense offender, played by Emily Watson, whom he has become infatuated with. His spouse was executed three years prior for sense offense, a punishment that Preston stood on and watched with cold, dark eyes.

Preston will eventually regain all feeling and begins to second guess what he does, but after his new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs), who seems to want to make a heavy career move, becomes suspicious of his actions the twisting of the story begins up until the final battle between Preston and his boss where guns become part of martial arts and a new, fresh way of looking at a fight scene is developed and loved by the audience.

The strength of this movie is in the portrayal of Cleric John Preston by Christian Bale (American Psycho, Reign of Fire) who does a marvelous job in the roll. His cold, daunting stare is perfect for a role such as this one which combines elements from Minority Report‘s John Anderton and The Matrix‘s Neo.

The special effects for this low budget sci-fi fest are very well done and bring back images of The Fifth Element when seeing a sprawled-out city who’s towering skyscraper paint the picture of a horizon with massive buildings composed of little or no life. The absence of color is just another tool that adds to an already excellent style. It is somewhat sad to see movies like Die Another Day with huge budgets that can’t seem to get CG down, but a niche movie such as this one can pull off vast cityscapes and realistic zeppelins.

It seems unfair to compare this movie to The Matrix, even when it does possess an obvious homage to the movie in the final action sequence. The fighting style and amazingly fresh style keep this movie from drifting too far into the “tried and done” category. While many may never get the chance to see it on the big screen because of its limited release and particular niche, if you get the opportunity, seize it, because you won’t see a fresher surprise this year.

So here we are five days after the release of Men in Black II and I’m just finally getting out of the house to see it. Why did it take me so long to get off my lazy ass an off to the theatre? Because I’m beginning to hate going to the movies on opening day and getting trampled by people who just got off of the “net” and read some “reviews” and can tell me every plot point before it finally happens. See I don’t need someone to tell me because those of us with brains bigger than a dog’s left-nut can figure out movies for ourselves. Anyway, I’m becoming skewed…

Men in Black II is the latest and supposedly greatest in the line of summer movies, I even predicted it would be the biggest movie of the summer, but who really expected Spider-Man to destroy records like it did, I sure didn’t. The movie stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as agents of the top secret organization that polices alien activity on the planet earth. When seeing the first movie five years ago you wondered how they would get Agent K back into the line-up and in the movie, and how they would get agent L to drop out (which was done very stupidly by the way).

Anyway when a mysterious light is hidden on earth and the universe’s biggest bad-ass-lingerie-model comes looking for it, things get heated and the only man who knows how to stop it had his memory erased five years earlier. After bringing K back, the movie really picks up because of the on-screen duo between Smith and Jones.

What directory Barry Sonnenfeld seemed like he was doing for the the sequel was take the best parts of the first movie and give them bigger parts in the second. The highlight of the movie is Frank the Pug, who is giving a much elongated part in this sequel compared to his two minutes of screen time in the first. But, unfortunately, along with some of the better characters that are broadened, some of the same old jokes are returned and reversed to either A) try them again or B) see if anyone remembers. For the most part they clicked, but some, most the regurgitated stuff from before, didn’t work out so well and seemed to fall flat.

I was a bit concerned when I saw the initial trailer for the movie because it lacked the outstanding humor of the first, but I’m safe in saying that, while not as funny as the first, Men in Black II is a very funny movie and is the perfect mix between action and comedy.

My only complaint? The movie is over way to quickly. We got through five trailers, the movie, and half of the credits in under two hours which is far too short for a movie competing this summer for attention with so many dynamic movies, and those who already downloaded them from net (but that is another story). While I may have been very presumptuous when I stated this would be the biggest movie of the summer, it did break some records for a July 4th opening, and just may very well stay around to make a whole lot of money, but in the end it still can’t compare to the original, and not many things do.

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