Men in Black (Superbit, 1997)

Written by Ed Solomon and David Koepp, based on the comic book by Lowell Cunningham
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn

Released by: Columbia/Tristar.
Rating: PG-13
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Rent it.

James (Smith) is a New York cop who's got impressive endurance and a wiseass attitude. He stumbles upon something he's not supposed to see: an extraterrestrial perp. This, and his performance in chasing said perp, earns him the attention of Agent K (Jones). K, you see, is part of an ultra-secret organization that's been monitoring and policing alien activity on Earth for decades. And he needs a new partner. He's going to need him more than ever, as a terrorist from off-world has landed on Earth and borrowed the body of a hick (D'Onofrio) to get around in. If the Men in Black don't do something--and quickly--the Earth is going to have a very, very bad day.

Bottom line is that the film's clever and funny. It wasn't of showstopping quality, but it was a great popcorn flick in cinemas. The juxtaposition of MIB agents dealing with the craziest shite as though it were workaday (which for them, of course, it was)--is hilarious just by itself. But you add Smith's mouth coupled against Jones' trademarked stoic nature, and that's a whole new level of funny.

Then, of course, there's your supporting cast--with Tony Shaloub playing Jeebs, he of many heads. And of course, Vince D'Onofrio steals the entire movie, convincing you that he really is a gigantic roach wearing a human suit. Just freaking hilarious. And hey, it's before Sonnenfeld let Wild Wild West damage his creative nervous system--so you can't go wrong.

Now, of course, we're talking the Superbit version here, so you're forgoing special features in favor of a higher rate of video and audio--that's what they do with all the space the features took up. In this case, some of the features on the "Deluxe Edition" of the DVD are worth having--so this truly is for the audio/videophiles among you. And hey, for those with a home cinema, you can truly tell the difference. Nothing like a noisy cricket going off in 5.1 uber-sound.

If you're a fan of the flick with a home setup, then this might be worth having on hand to impress your buddies. But for the rest of us, it's worth at least a rental, though most will want to opt for the non-Superbit deluxe model.

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