REVIEW: Johnny English Strikes Again

Everyone is wondering who the hell can take over as James Bond now that Daniel Craig is considering abandoning ship for good, and I think the choice for his replacement has been obvious from the get go. In fact, the new James Bond has been sitting under our noses for years now and nobody has seemingly noticed. That’s right, the man I am talking about is none other than… Idris Elba. What? Do you really think I was going to say Johnny English? Good one.

When a cyberattack compromises Britain’s finest active agents, the clumsy Johnny English is called out of retirement as the secret service’s last hope in unveiling the mastermind hacker.

There is a difference between Mr. Bean and Johnny English. Both are hilarious in their own rights and Rowan Atkinson is, what we can all agree on as, a master in visual comedy. Though the difference you can find between the two (and take note, because its a crucial difference) is that Mr. Bean ended. Mr. Bean was brilliant in his heyday and after a few outings on the big screen the character packed up shop and finalised his onscreen run whilst still looking good in the people’s conscious. Johnny English, meanwhile, has managed to continue for what feels like ages now, and it would seem, unlike Mr. Bean, Atkinson’s suave, espionage comedy act has gone a little stale.

I honestly do not have a lot to say concerning Johnny English Strikes Again; I literally walked out of the cinema having forgotten the majority of the movie I had just watched and ultimately my biggest flaw then came with how plain and forgettable Johnny English Strikes Again was. Honestly, if you like the Johnny English film series, you will probably enjoy this movie and not totally take into account the critical failings of its plot and production. I, personally, enjoy the Johnny English movies, so watching this one was a bit of light fun for myself but was nothing too flashy – the movie is almost like eating a bag of chips which is 60% air.

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(Lu 2018)

A lot of the movie’s humour is almost exclusively English procuring a gadget, then proceeding to explain its purpose before (not surprisingly) setting it off to poor results. And this joke is used over and over and over again, to tiring effects. Johnny English Strikes Again is undoubtedly funny, but the comedy is mainly due to the skill of Atkinson in keeping his audience engaged in such a loony performance. This is definitely not the best of Atkinson’s comedic range, but, at the end of the day, it’s still Atkinson and not someone lazier like… I don’t know… let’s just say Tracy Morgan.

What I did really like about this film was how it painted English as an old school spy with a reluctance to use new gadgets and modern weapons, therefore having the character forcibly rely on faulty old tech which made for some really funny moments. Also, with the movie’s villain mainly being a tech whizz with power over all forms of modern technology, an interesting contrast could be made between the old school English and the new school villain. Having the two juxtaposed in the way they operated and carried out their plans was honestly a smart move on the screenplay’s behalf, as both hero and villain represented the pros and cons of their generations, allowing them to clash in some comedic ways. Again though, this is just slapstick, “ooh, I’m Her Majesty’s Mr. Bean” Johnny English stuff, so let’s not get too deep into thematics.

Olga Kurylenko was really good as a femme fatale type character, so much so I wish she could have a second chance as a Bond Babe (screw you Quantum of Solace). Ben Miller and Emma Thompson had some funny moments here and there as there were also some comically tuned cameos and brief appearances planted throughout the film at points. The highlight of the movie’s comedy would probably have to be the nonsensical virtual reality sequence, but other than that, everything about Johnny English Strikes Again is pretty basic, including its comedy.

The villain was pretty terrible (as in the acting) and their identity reveal was obvious, despite the movie’s effort’s to keep who they were a secret for some dumb reason. Honestly guys, I am struggling to think of more things to say about this movie but there really isn’t much. Johnny English Strikes Again is fine to say the least and I really cannot pinpoint anything else relevant enough to convince you why or why not you should see this movie.

If you enjoy some light espionage shenanigans from not-Tom Cruise, then give Johnny English Strikes Again a squizz. Seriously guys, this movie is the most “ok” you can get. Now someone please get me a vodka and tonic, but leave out the tonic and ice, please.

Johnny English Strikes Again sadly belongs in the… KINGDOM OF THE CRIMINALLY DULL…

 

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