Saturday, June 9, 2012

late post: MIB3, Legend of Bloody Jack


The Men In Black franchise returns with stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as agents K and J, respectively. And let me get to the point on my mindset going in to the film… why is there another MIB film after the last one? It was basically the same film as the first with rehashed gags and a fairly stupid retcon regarding the retirement of K. What had been a pretty happy ending to the first film was ruined by the second films need to bring the pair back together. The same jokes from the first film were used in the second and Johnny Knoxville was flat out annoying. (What WAS with that second head and where was the tentacle attached, specifically?) So I didn’t have high hopes for the third in the franchise but thought it would be a good little popcorn flick to enjoy with the family.

So the film brings on Jemaine from “Flight of the Conchords” as the leading villain (Boris), a criminal from the past of Agent K. This creature escapes from a high security prison and enacts a plot to gain revenge on Agent K, sending himself back in time to kill the younger K and succeed in his mission. The only trouble with the plan is that Agent J somehow remembers (this is dealt with in the story) the original time line and is sent back in time to stop Boris from killing K. So Tommy Lee Jones is quickly replaced with Josh Brolin (Goonies, Planet Terror).

In what originally looked like a stupid “time Travel” sequel with dated references and a bunch of jokes regarding the appearance of Hippies and Nixon, MIB actually delivers a solid story with emotional resonance as we meet a younger and somewhat less stand-offish K. We meet the MIB organization in its early years, we see how aliens originally adapted the world, and the time gags take a back seat to the character development between J and K. That isn’t to say we aren’t going to see some of the expected “time travel” gags; the early development of a few typical MIB devices and their “low tech” alternatives, moments of intolerance, and popular icons from the era. But the point is that they were just gags and they were used as such. They weren’t the point of the film, it wasn’t a weak story surrounding a lot of pratfalls. J and K are fantastic together, and the younger version of K gives us some fantastic insight into how he became the man he would eventually become.

5 out of 5.

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The Legend of Bloody Jack

I’ve seen worse movies and this film doesn’t even crack the top 10 on that list, but it certainly deserves some degree of honorable mention. It’s a fairly typical “slasher” theme with the titular character being some sort of ancient woodsman raised from the grave by a descendent, but this aspect really only serves to chew up some running time in the early beginning because it doesn’t really have much bearing on the story itself. It introduces the character, it shows us how he’s raised, it hints as to how he can then be sent back to the grave, and none of it matters because it has no bearing at all on the story. We’re introduced to our cast of victims and get comfortable because we’re stuck with them throughout the runtime of this heavily padded film that throws in additional victims for no more purpose than to run out the time and show off really REALLY bad special effects. We are talking buckets of blood, a cup of latex, and lots of cut-aways before we see just how bad the make-up truly is.

2 out of 5, and that’s a kindness.

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