When England comes under multiple cyber attacks that reveal the identities of all undercover secret agents, Johnny English is summoned out of retirement for one last mission.
With orders to stop and capture a ruthless hacker, English (Rowan Atkinson) must reluctantly first get to grips with modern technology in order to save England and the world.
I’ve always been a fan of the comedy of Rowan Atkinson. Seeing him on TV is ingrained in my childhood. I’m sure many people associate Atkinson with his most famous creation, Mr Bean. The monosyllabic, accident-prone, brown-suited man who finds himself in hilarious situations. While others may argue his most groundbreaking character was his one in Black Adder, the sarcastic, scheming monarch.
Atkinson’s genius lies in that classic use of physical comedy which is in abundance in Johnny English Strikes Again, combined with a peppering of some ‘smooth’ one-liners, usually reserved for another spy franchise we all know.
Although this film has some excellent slapstick comedy (the hot nut sketch is pure BEAN, the French restaurant and the virtual reality scene is laugh-out-loud excellent), the plot is basic and very predictable, with a lazy attempt to throw you off from who the villain might be (it doesn’t work). Although, if you are watching a Johnny English movie, what else would you expect?
The jokes come thick and fast which is not a bad thing, but it would have done the film no harm to perhaps have put a bit of breathing space between gags. Inserting more depth into the plot would have been refreshing. Fleshing out the characters would have been beneficial. For example, the villain’s motives are clear but his hatred for English people is not explained, nor why he is so apathetic in every scene. He doesn’t seem to care about anything which makes it difficult to feel anything for him, let alone dislike him, as a viewer.
Overall, Johnny English Strikes Again is great fun. There is a clever Dr. No (1962) reference for any Bond aficionados watching and Emma Thompson brings some much needed dramatic weight as the Prime Minister of England. Suitable for young and old, watch the movie for some light-hearted fun and leave a little shaken but unfortunately, not stirred.
This will be Rowan Atkinson’s first movie trilogy.