Movie Review

Men in Black

More secretive than the C.I.A. - More powerful than the F.B.I. - And they're looking for a few good men - They are the Men in Black.
Men in Black Movie Poster

US Release Date: 07-02-1997

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld


  • Tommy Lee Jones
  • Agent K
  • Will Smith
  • Agent J
  • Linda Fiorentino
  • Dr. Laurel Weaver
  • Vincent D Onofrio
  • Edgar
  • Rip Torn
  • Chief Zed
  • Tony Shalhoub
  • Jack Jeebs
  • Siobhan Fallon
  • Beatrice
  • Mike Nussbaum
  • Gentle Rosenburg the Arquillian Jeweler
  • David Cross
  • Newton the Morgue Attendant
  • Sergio Calderon
  • ilegal alien
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: November 18th, 2004
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.

Men in Black is one of the most solid pieces of movie entertainment to be found. Action and humor pack this popcorn-pleasing picture.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith star as two secret government agents, J and K. They protect the world from aliens and police the ones that live here. They dress only in black and wear cool shades. People who see too much of them get their minds erased. The plot revolves around J becoming an agent as an alien assassin comes to earth to steal a valuable source of energy.

The special effects and laser gun blasts are plentiful but the greatness of this movie is in the humor and banter of the characters. My favorite piece of dialogue is when K is playing an Elvis tape in the car and J asks; "You do know that Elvis is dead right?" to which K responds; "Elvis is not dead, he just went home."

This is the movie that made Will Smith the major movie star that he is today. He gets many funny lines. Early on he is arguing with an overweight policeman. The cop says, "If you were half the man I am..." to which Smith looks at the guys belly and says, "What are you talking about? I am half the man you are."

Men in Black is a fun film!

Reviewed on: December 7th, 2009
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith have a great chemistry together.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith have a great chemistry together.

This is a fun movie. When it was released in 1997 I must have seen it 5 times in the theater. It had been a few years since I'd seen it so I wondered if it would live up to my memory. Apart from Will Smith's outfits at the beginning of the film, I have to say that it has aged pretty damn well.

Like you say Eric, there's some great and memorable dialogue and I impressed myself by just how many lines I remembered. After living in New York City for 8 years I found a few of the lines funnier than I did the first time I watched it. Such as:
"At any given time there are approximately 1500 aliens on the planet, most of them right here in Manhattan. And most of them are decent enough, they're just trying to make a living."
"Cab drivers?"
"Not as many as you'd think."
"Those are real spaceships?"
"Why else would they hold it in Queens?" (Referring to the 1964 World's Fair)

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have a great chemistry together. They remind me of Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray from Ghostbusters with Jones spouting techno-babble and Smith playing the smart alec in a Science Fiction setting. The supporting cast is quite good as well. Vince D'Onofrio does a great job as the alien in the Edgar suit and Rip Torn is memorable as Zed.

Even the special effects hold up well. There are a few times when you can see the strings so to speak, but overall it's really well done.

Comedy Sci-Fi is a pretty rare genre and well done comedy Sci-Fi is even rarer. This is one of the best examples Hollywood has ever produced of it.

Reviewed on: February 23rd, 2012
Will Smith and Linda Fiorentino in Men in Black.

Will Smith and Linda Fiorentino in Men in Black.

1997 was a good year for comedy Sci-Fi. Men in Black and The Fifth Element were both released that year and both blended action with humor in special effects heavy Sci-Fi movies. Fifth Element was good but Men in Black is a true classic that holds up well 15 years after its initial release. With the long awaited MIB III scheduled to come out this May I thought it was the perfect time to go back and rewatch the original.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones make a wonderful movie team with their iconic black suits, skinny ties and Ray Ban sunglasses. Smith's exuberant wisecracking and Jones' deadpan delivery serve each other well as they bounce lines and bits of humor back and forth. In this day and age of movies that seem to go on and on the pacing here is refreshing. The entire story plays out in less than 90 minutes and there isn't a wasted second of screen time. The early CGI work holds up fairly well as Scott mentioned. Men in Black won the Oscar for Best Makeup.

I had never watched MIB on DVD before. It was fun being able to pause the movie during certain scenes. I was able to identify most of the celebrities the movie claims are aliens. These include Al Roker, Isaac Mizrahi, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone, Dionne Warwick, Newt Gingrich, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg.

Like Scott I also appreciated the New York City locales more than I did in 1997, four years before moving here. If you've ever visited the Guggenheim Museum you will realize just how far Will Smith had to run at the beginning of the movie, and at the climax the alien spaceship crashes through the giant globe-like structure known as The Ionosphere, which is located right outside of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center where the U.S. Open is held every year.

Both my brothers mentioned funny lines from MIB. To me the funniest scene is when Agent J delivers the alien baby in the backseat of the cab in New Jersey. It features some of the most sophisticaged CGI effects in the movie. Will Smith gets lifted in the air by a giant tentacle before getting spit-up on by the newborn alien squid baby. The scene ends with a perfect punchline from Agent K when he nonchalantly asks his rookie partner, “Did anything about that seem unusual to you?”

It has been a decade since the release of the much maligned MIB II (which I personally enjoyed) and nearly 3 ½ years since Will Smith's last starring role in the critically savaged Seven Pounds. At 43 he can no longer play the young hotshot smart aleck. We'll know soon enough what changes have been made to Agent J to accommodate his age and whether or not the franchise has any magic left in it. Either way the original Men in Black remains a hugely entertaining movie with a catchy theme song courtesy of Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" with the lyrics changed to... “Here come the Men in Black. Galaxy defenders...”

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