Monday, 17 September 2018

Johnny English Strikes Again: Film Review

Johnny English Strikes Again: Film Review


Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy, Olga Kurylenko
Director: David Kerr

How you will feel about Johnny English Strikes Again largely relies on how you feel about Rowan Atkinson's inept spy.
Johnny English Strikes Again: Film Review

Because, to be frank, this latest which sees English pulled out of retirement after a series of cyber attacks exposes all England's current secret agents, doesn't exactly do much to shake up the Johnny English franchise at all.

But what it does do, is allow Atkinson once again to showcase his rubber-faced propensity for physical comedy, like some kind of clown from a bygone era channeling Mr Bean and a James Bond cross.

However, much as it may pain some with its corny execution and its entirely predictable turn of plot and surprise, Johnny English Strikes Again is actually refreshingly retro in its delivery of sight gags, and silliness, both of which are dispatched by director Kerr and lead star with relative unflappable aplomb.
Johnny English Strikes Again: Film Review

The resurgence of the old school is apparent throughout, both from the physical prop based humour served up by Atkinson to a series of running gags about English being out of touch from the rest of the world - from the advent of iPhones to EVs, to gags about having to sign a health and safety release for use of a gun to a brilliantly written sequence using VR and real life, there's a real feeling of 60s Get Smart mentality about this, rather than the self-knowing, self-referential Austin Powers.

Even Harry Potter gets a nod, with English now serving as a teacher in a spy school, awarding house points for to the best little would-be spies.

And largely, thanks to the quick pace, it works - though in parts, it does feel like a series of sketches thinly pulled together by some overall plot. But you can't deny the childish glee of what transpires in Johnny English Strikes Again, only the hardest of hearts would fail to be moved by the goofy unending silliness of it all, even if it does feel like the world's moved on since the 2011 sequel, Johnny English Reborn.
Johnny English Strikes Again: Film Review

It may be a bit beneath those who can't see past their own snideness, but to be frank, Johnny English Strikes Again doesn't care for your snobbishness, or for a strong script or for the world which has turned repeatedly in its wake. In many ways, it's the antithesis of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, but ironically, both can co-exist at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It exists purely to amuse, not to score Oscars, and while it's affable and forgettable, its nostalgia for an England of yesteryear and a spy world of inherent silliness rather than Bond-style pomposity means that it feels like a cinematic cuddly jumper, well-executed and comforting - even if it does feel like an 80s TV sketch show throwback.

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