#REVIEW: “JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN opens with the British Intelligence Service, M17, having been cyber attacked and the identities of all their secret agents have been exposed. The biggest issues facing the Prime Minister, played by Emma Thompson channeling Hillary and Teresa May, is that she needs a secret agent to find the mastermind of the attack but all of them have been revealed. A search begins to find retired ex-spies to find the hacker.
Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is now a teacher at a provincial school outside London where he imparts espionage tricks of the trade to impressionable young teens rather than teaching them geography. Called in to return to duty and accidentally sabotaging 3 retired former agents (delightfully played by three icons from the British stage and screen and best be kept secret to not ruin this lovely surprise), English alongside his old faithful companion in all things spy related, Bough (Ben Miller) is left to his devices to find and apprehend the hacker.
Did I mention devices? English is an old school spy. Eschewing things like cellphones and hybrid cars, he heads off with a classic Aston Martin sports car, a gun and gizmos pretending to be one thing but can be used as lethal weapons. The stage is set for the accident prone Johnny English to save the world from evil – mostly via pratfalls, burning down an elegant restaurant in the south of France, gas bombing cyclists during a Tour de France run, disco dancing for hours after accidentally ingesting energy pills for sleeping pills, running out of petrol while on a hot pursuit to capture a glamorous Russian agent, Ophelia Bulletova (played, ironically, by an ex Bond Girl, Olga Kurylenko and so on and so on.
While English is away looking for clues in France, the Prime Minister has enlisted the help from a Silicon Valley tech genius, Jason Volta (played energetically with a toothy smile by Jake Lacy) to help find the hacker. Surprise, surprise, Jason Volta IS the hacker and he has a secret plan all of his own to thwart the upcoming G12 Conference.
Let’s face it. No one going to see JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is expecting to spend time seeing clever banter and droll situations. It’s all about silly set ups and executions and you can almost predict the punchline every time. That said, Rowan Atkinson is an expert at these types of roles. His hound dog face and Gumby malleable body always makes me giggle and he must have great genes as he hasn’t seemed to age a bit since the first Johnny English Movie was released in 2003. Atkinson is at his best in one sequence in the Movie where English is using virtual reality to practice breaking into a house. Needless to say, it all goes horribly wrong and I admit to laughing while watching English pummel someone with baguettes. And let’s not even mention the old lady in a wheelchair!
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is goofy, predictable and a welcome relief to the slate of movies being released vying for Oscar glory. Fans of the Johnny English Franchise will love seeing their hero back on the big screen.
Universal Pictures Canada release JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN Friday, October 26, 2018.