Men in Black International movie cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson
Men in Black International movie director: F Gary Gray
Men in Black International movie rating: Two stars
Men In Black: International is the fourth in that series where the men wear sharp black suits-and-shades as they wrestle with evil aliens and other beasties and save the world.
This time around there’s a woman in black too (two, actually), and about the only time this installment comes to life is when newbie Tessa, and old-hand Emma, both the Thompson ladies, are kicking butt.
The rest of it is pretty much a seen-it-done-it-dusted-it, why-am-I-watching-this-kinda flick. Sure, there are such exotic locations as Marrakesh, and colourful souks leading to secret rooms which house cute little otherworldly critters (one is called Pawny, and is voiced by Nanjiani). There are some energetic set-pieces (the one in a night-club is a stand-out). And there is the handsome Chris Hemsworth giving his ensemble a work-out.
But a patina of sameness settles over it all, as the two new partners, Hemsworth and Thompson, scurry from Paris to Men-In-Black-HQ to London to Marrakesh in search of a, gasp, mole in the MIB gang. There’s also a weapon-that-can-destroy-the-world caroming around: can there be a dull moment when so much is going on? You betcha, Fletcha.
The 1997 original Men In Black, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, was zingy and zippy and a barrel of non-stop fun. Nothing later has matched up, even if both part 2 and 3 had their share of hi-jinks, and Jones and Smith riffing off each other didn’t get old.
Here Hemsworth looks as if he has wandered in from a super-hero movie in his spare time. It is Tessa Thomson who makes this thing work. She’s perky, and shares a few funny lines with Pawny, who has a thing for queens and pressing red buttons.
A character in the film says: someone press something. Yep, as generic as that. Right at that moment, you feel like pressing the exit button. A busy, nicely-done finale just about makes up for it.
How about, going forward (oh yes, there will be more, never fear), call the next one ‘Women In Black’?. It’s time.