• Guy Jeffries

Johnny English Strikes Again


Director: David Kerr.

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko, Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy.

TV movie and television comedy series director, David Kerr makes his big screen debut with the third and reportedly final instalment of the parodying British intelligence agent, Johnny English. Kerr is a major name within the british comedy circuit, known for his work on Inside No. 9, Fresh Meat and winning a BAFTA for Best Comedy program in 2007 for That Mitchell and Webb Look. So, it seems like a fitting outing for Kerr, but does he accomplish the mission at hand?

Personally, I’m a fan of Rowan Atkinson’s work, especially his earlier stand up and his iconic character of Mr. Bean who’s Internationally renowned and quite possibly offers the rest of the world a warped yet funny representation of us Brits. But I digress, I enjoyed the character of Johnny English best when he was Richard Latham and for those of you not old enough to remember, he was the original character, played by Atkinson in a series of adverts for Barclaycard, which spawned this very trilogy. You could probably find the original adverts on YouTube quite easily if you searched Barclaycard and Atkinson but they were funny; my personal favourite ones being the ball point pen, the burning rug and the missing binoculars.

Off the back of the adverts, popularity of Latham and Bough got them their own movie back in 2003 starring John Malkovich and Natalie Imbruglia but replacing Henry Naylor with the now Angus Bough’s Ben Miller. I was initially excited, but disappointingly, I couldn’t stand the film. I disliked it so much I avoided the 2011 sequel, Johnny English Reborn entirely. But, duty calls and being armed with Limitless card, I had to go watch this one.

The story is incredibly simple and doesn’t demand much, but is very current and almost reminiscences the very core theme of the Barclaycard advert with English being out of touch. He’s an analog spy in a digital world (where have I heard that phrase before?) thinking this actually gives him some advantage over the cyber terrorists. Oh! That’s what the plot of this film is about, Britain is under a series of cyberattacks that look more like a serial prankster’s dream and with every agent on the digital grid being compromised, English is pulled out of retirement back into the field to foil the terrorists.

Sadly it’s incredibly blatant with its predictability having some set up scenes being totally unnecessary with a possibility of creating cleaner version if edited out. It’s almost as if the film has to explain its action before it’s even happened and some of it time, it’s not needed and the comedy might have worked better if we didn’t see the mechanics of the joke before hand.

Can’t fault the casting and the performances are as expected and totally acceptable. Thompson obviously doing her bit brilliantly as Prime Minister, Lacey works as the egotistical American high tech antagonist, Kurylenko is stunning as usual but can do better than this; and Atkinson expectedly brings his comic genius melding traits from his Mr. Bean Latham/English.

I know it not be to taken seriously, and though it didn’t make me laugh, it did make a lot of the audience chuckle. Much of the situations are ridiculous, but they’re suppose to be and I can’t fault that, even if I didn’t find it funny. It’s well shot and put together, it’s doesn’t drag, though could have lost a few of minutes of screen time with the unnecessary joke staging; and at it’s core, it’s light hearted entertainment.

Running Time: 6

The Cast: 7

Performance: 7

Direction: 6

Story: 4

Script: 4

Creativity: 6

Soundtrack: 5

Job Description: 5

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

50% 5/10

#DavidKerr #RowanAtkinson #BenMiller #OlgaKurylenko #EmmaThompson #JakeLacy #CharlesDance #MichaelGambon #EdwardFox #JohnnyEnglish #JohnnyEnglishStrikesAgain #Comedy