Film Weekly

Lacking chemistry

June 25 - July 2, 2019
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Gulf Weekly Lacking chemistry

Men in Black International

Director: F. Gary Gray

Writers: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson

Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Rating: PG 13

Runtime: 120 minutes

Score: 2.5

Right at the beginning, even before the credits, when the female statue in the Columbia Pictures logo puts on a pair of MiB shades, you automatically know what’s new in MiB 4.

The Men in Black International flick has two women in black – Emma Thompson is the head of the New York branch of the mysterious organisation and Tessa Thompson is the probationary agent – and both look darn good in black. Sadly, that’s pretty much everything I enjoyed about the film.

The belated fourth instalment starts fresh with H&M (not the clothing store), the cocky wisecracking Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and the excellent new recruit Molly aka Agent M (Tessa Thompson).

Molly, obsessed with finding out the ‘truth of the universe’, grows up reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time at bedtime. Child Molly first witnesses the Men in Black wiping out her parents’ memories using the memory-erasing Neuralyzer wand and encounters her first alien. The, 23 years later, she makes her childhood dream come true when she convinces Agent O (Emma Thompson) to hire her on a probationary basis. She then teams up with Agent H to tackle the biggest, most global scum to date – a mole in the Men in Black organisation.

Wisecracking Agent J and deadpan Agent K, with their striking one-liners and terrific little side jokes, were the heart and soul of the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones starrer Men in Black 1997 release.

After the great disappointing Men in Black II in 2002 and the surprisingly fun but underwhelming Men in Black III in 2012, MiB International introduces us to the new leads Agent H and his mentor, High T (Liam Neeson) replacing Smith and Lee respectively. The latest sequel no longer follows the odd-duo rapport of J and K. Distributor Sony Pictures’ risky sequel was clearly to build a new fan base for their alien franchise, thinking that International would be able to benefit from Thompson and Hemsworth’s already established playfully combative chemistry in the successful Marvel Studios sequel Thor: Ragnarok.

Disappointingly, H&M’s comedic chemistry cannot create any emotional unforgettable moments like the original. They are just famous faces! While Thompson brings in her comedic talent, Hemsworth’s malnourished character seems to have “Neuralyzed” his past heroism and everyone in the agency kind of knows that ‘he’s changed’. There is no single explanation why or how.

Kumail Nanjiani is the only comic relief as a voice of bite-sized alien Pawny. He delivers International’s best one-liners while Emma Thompson has some brilliant quips.

Alien villain ‘Les Twins,’ Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, are basically a hip-hop version of the albino duo in the Matrix sequels.

New director of the MiB series F. Gary Gray, who helmed Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious, was clearly not the right choice for the franchise’s expansion to a fresh new place.

The plot, served up by Iron Man screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, unnecessarily travels to Hollywood’s stereotypical international locations- London, Paris and Marrakech. Twists are boring and predictable. The alien supporting characters and sci-fi action sequences are not so inventive.

If you want to experience the film like ‘a rumor, recognisable only as déjà vu, and dismissed just as quickly’, carry your Neuralyzer on you at the theatre.

Ragnarok. Disappointingly, H&M’s comedic chemistry cannot create any emotional unforgettable moments like the original – they are just famous faces! While Thompson brings in her comedic talent, Hemsworth’s malnourished character seems to have Neuralyzed his past heroism and everyone in the agency kind of knows that ‘he’s changed’—no single explanation why…how.

Kumail Nanjiani, is the only comic relief as a voice of bite-sized alien Pawny. He delivers International’s best one-liners while Emma Thompson has some brilliant quips.

Alien villain ‘Les Twins,’ Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, are basically a hip-hop version of the albino duo in the Matrix sequels.

New director of the MiB series F. Gary Gray, who helmed Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious, was clearly not the right choice for the franchise’s expansion to a fresh new place. The plot, served up by Iron Man screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, unnecessarily travels to Hollywood’s stereotypical international locations-London, Paris and Marrakech. Twists are boring and predictable. The alien supporting characters and sci-fi action sequences are not so inventive.

If you want to experience the film like ‘a rumor, recognizable only as déjà vu, and dismissed just as quickly’, carry your Neuralyzer at the theatre.







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