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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


St. Petersburg Times Online

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Letdown aside, 'MIB II' still a wild romp

The Men in Black are back

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.
By BILLY NORRIS

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 8, 2002


Movie: Men in Black II

  • Rating: PG-13

Summary: In this sequel to the first part of the MIB epic, J (Will Smith) has become the top agent under the chief, Zed (Rip Torn). The Men in Black agency keeps track of all alien life forms on Earth. After going through several partners, Zed instructs J to summon Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) back into active duty to prevent an impending disaster. Only he has the information necessary to do this. That task proves to be easier said than done because K has no recollection of any of his special agent history.

At the root of their problems is a wicked alien named Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), whose enormous powers aren't easy to conquer!

My View: After all the hype about how great this was going to be, it was kind of a letdown. The first one was excellent, and after you see a film of that caliber, you have high expectations for any sequel. The director, Barry Sonnenfeld, took all the characters we loved from the first one (the worm guys, Frank the pug, etc.) and gave them more prominent roles in this movie. The original was so fresh and different. Although it was fun to see many familiar "faces" in MIB II, it lacked the creative punch we saw in 1997.

At just less than 90 minutes, this movie was fast paced. The jokes were plentiful and just as amusing as they were before, but they were fired off so rapidly that some of them got lost in the audience sea of laughter.

Favorite Part: Even though there were a few negatives, I enjoyed a lot of the things in this film. Smith's everlasting sarcasm and Jones' sharp wits were a perfect match. The sets and characters, whether digitally created or actually there, were definitely a plus. It is obvious that a lot of thought went into their creation. The ending was absolutely great! It is new and innovative, and gives you something to think about on your ride home from the theater.

Least Favorite Part: The previews showed way too many of the jokes, so they didn't have the full effect. Of course, there were some that weren't given away by the trailer, but by then I felt like I had already seen most of the movie.

Recommendations: Fans of Smith, Jones and the first movie will love it. Others will like it too, but it won't be quite as good as you expect. The rating is appropriate because of the quantity of somewhat crude sight gags.

Grade: B

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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