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6/18/2012 9:01:00 AM
MOVIE REVIEW: Men In Black III rehashes plots - with time travel

David Kanowsky
Kudos Movie Critic, The Movie Man

This latest incarnation of the MIB alien-hunting agents seems to minimize originality for the sake of playing up the familiar visual confectionery. The plot is a little different because it involves time travel.

Agent J has to travel back to July 1969 to save the young Agent K from an assassin.

In Men In Black III, the assassin is Boris The Animal, a monstrous ET who has been incarcerated on the moon for 40 years. Back in 1969, his encounter with Agent K cost him his freedom and his left arm. He escapes from his prison in a way that makes us think about why he waited 40 years to get out. Now he wants to go back in time to kill Agent K before he is captured and before K causes him to lose the arm.

Agent J (Will Smith) finds out about all of this and locates the 'sorcerer' who can do the time shift. Tommy Lee Jones is Agent K and Emma Thompson is the chief, Agent O, replacing Zed (Rip Torn) who has passed on. J is transported to Coney Island, NY in July 1969 on the eve of the moon landing launch. The young Agent K is played by Josh Brolin and Alice Eve is young Agent O.

J is somewhat mystified by the unsophisticated technology of the time and is he taken aback by some racial attitudes he encounters. He also faces the problem that K does not believe his story of time travel.

J is interested to see that, at least in 1969, there was a 'thing' between Agent K and Agent O. It's something J would not know in today's time because K is very silent about his personal life, even after 14 years of partnership. J keeps pressing him to open up, but it doesn't happen. K is the ultimate stoic sourpuss.

That's the plot. As it progresses, or plods along in confusing manner, the visual effects abound. There's the bad ET with a sub-monster living in his hand who destroys buildings and people or a normal looking being whose head expands to reveal weapons of mass destruction within. Like that!

Will Smith steals the show as Agent J with his light touch of humor in a semi-serious role. As Agent K Tommy Lee Jones plays his character down, as is required by this script. Josh Brolin is excellent as the young K, energetic and dynamic. He mimics Tommy Lee Jones to perfection; he is a young Agent K. Emma Thompson's role is small and not very demanding, but she does it well, of course.

There is a surprise twist at the end of the film, but it seems to have been inserted as an appeasement for the preceding rehash of MIB and MIB 2 and so many other sci-fi films of late. At this point I'd gladly focus my eyes on the MIB neuralizer!

Men In Black III is playing at the Harkins Sedona 6 Theater.

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