Reviewed by: Cheryl Sneeringer
K (Tommy Lee Jones) is an agent of a secret government agency called Men in Black. That agency licenses, monitors, and regulates alien (extraterrestrial) activity on Earth. Supported by an ultra-sophisticated global monitoring system and armed with technologically advanced weapons, Men in Black oversees the activity of the 1500 (or so) registered extraterrestrials who live and work on Earth. These extraterrestrials include, by the way, Newt Gingrich, Sylvester Stallone, and Dennis Rodman. Sound far-fetched? Well, that’s just because one of the responsibilities of this agency is to erase the relevant memories of all Earthlings who have seen evidence of alien presence—so of course, you and I would have had our memories erased had we ever witnessed alien activity.
Will Smith plays an ace New York city cop who chases down a street criminal with superhuman capabilities—superhuman because the criminal is actually a cephalopod, an interstellar cockroach in a borrowed human body. Smith’s success at cornering the cephalopod marks him as Men in Black material. He is recruited, given his single-letter name (J), and issued a black suit and sunglasses. He teams up with K, and they immediately find themselves in the midst of a crisis. They must apprehend an intergalactic assassin whose activities could result in the destruction of our planet, and the loss of a galaxy. Where will they find clues regarding the whereabouts of the assassin? From the tabloids, of course. “Best investigative reporting on the planet,” says K.
This film is great fun. It is quirky, imaginative, and intelligent. It works as a comedy; it works as science-fiction; and it works as an action flick. The dialog is crisp and funny. The heroes are interesting and engaging. The aliens are exquisitely designed. Some of the aliens are cute and endearing (like E.T.); others are grotesque and repulsive.
This is potentially a film that the “whole” family could enjoy—with the exception of young children. The scary aliens are big and very ugly, so many scenes will be too visually frightening for young children. The violence in this film is primarily scenes of aliens being shot, and sometimes the result is gooey and gross, but other times the alien emerges none the worse for the experience.
There is no sex or nudity, but there is a very short sequence of mildly suggestive dialogue. There are a handful of occurrences of bad language, and sadly, the first two words spoken in the film are a curse taking God’s name in vain. This film is rated PG-13, but some critics believe it should have received an “R” rating (for violence and profanity).
Year of Release—1997
To learn more about extraterrestrial life from a biblical perspective, see: