Movie Reviews

Published on October 26th, 2018 | by Michael Newman

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Johnny English Strikes Again

My very first experience with the incredibly talented Rowan Atkinson was when I saw a silly Mr. Bean short that was played before the Beauty and the Beast movie.  This was way back in 1991 and yet you wouldn’t believe that he’s aged at all during that time.  Johnny English Strikes Again is the third movie in the Johnny English franchise, and is another James Bond inspired spoof where our never aging super spy once again tries to outwit a maniacal super genius hell bent on taking over the world.

The movie starts with Johnny English as a geography teacher at a private school in the heart of England.  What makes this a light-hearted and perfect entrance to the movie is that instead of teaching geography lessons, he’s teaching the kids how to become spies.  Not only does this result in some very chuckle worthy scenes but it also shows us that Johnny still yearns to be back in the field even though he’s an exceptional teacher to the young spies-in-training.  As fate would have it, a hacker has released the identities of all MI-7 agents around the world, so the only hope that England has is to call back retired agents.  Reluctantly, Johnny is given the job and of course the hijinks start before he even heads out on his mission.  In a very cute and refreshing twist on the usual high-tech spy movies, Johnny prefers his spy gear old school, so he turns down the smart phone and hybrid vehicle and instead requests a gun and picks out an old gas-guzzling Aston Martin V8.  It was a very clever way to show that his mission wasn’t going to be anything like how Ethan Hunt would handle things.

This leads us to the plot of the movie.  Johnny’s mission, with the help of his faithful sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), is to track down the signal where the hacker has been carrying out his attacks and thwart them before the G12 summit takes place.  His first stop is to the south of France, where he encounters an alluring Russian spy named Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko) who is clearly working against him.  What follows is a slapstick tale of numerous follies as the unlikely trio dance, drive, and crash their way to saving the world.

As you might expect Johnny English forgoes the crudeness and lewd jokes that are popular in comedic films these days and brings back a much more wholesome family friendly comedy.  There is no cursing to speak of, no real violence, and except for the last scene it barely rates in the PG category at all.  It harkens back to the late 80’s and early 90’s with similar spoof movies like The Naked Gun, where silly dialog and accident-prone heroes are what leads to the laughter.  It’s a film that certainly does not take itself seriously and expects the same from the viewing audience.  Some of the humor in the movie may elicit a groan from being that bad…but it’s usually so bad that it becomes funny.  I found myself laughing a lot more than I expected to and I wasn’t the only one in the theater laughing.

To truly enjoy Johnny English, you have to know what to expect going into it.  I can’t imagine there will be many (particularly those who have seen the previous films) that will have particularly high expectations, and that’s where it shines.  It may not win any comedy film awards or be the best movie you’ve ever seen but you’ll go away happy.  If you enjoyed the previous films, you will certainly enjoy this film as it’s not a huge diversion from the formula and provides the same sort of silly gags throughout.  It certainly won’t appeal to everyone and that’s okay, but if you think you might enjoy it even a little, it’s definitely worth a look.

3 out of 5 stars

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