Johnny English Strikes Again

  • Action-comedy; Cert PG, contains violence and coarse language; 1hr 29mins
  • Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy, Miranda Hennessy, David Mumeni and Samantha Russell
  • Director: David Kerr

SINCE becoming a knight of the realm, Sir Rowan Atkinson – aka Mr Bean or Johnny English – has seen his career waver but he keeps coming back.

In this latest offering, Johnny English Strikes Again, the overly self-important spy once again blunders his way through an existential threat to Queen and country.

After a cyber-attack exposes all MI7’s spies, Johnny English is one of four secret agents recalled from retirement to launch an investigation. And after accidentally removing the other three by his incompetent use of knock out gas, he is given the responsibility of saving Britain’s military intelligence service.

This is the third instalment of the Johnny English franchise and like the previous two, this is a frivolous little experiment in giving an over-the-hill actor – who really doesn’t need another job – something to do in his twilight years.

BEACON CALENDAR 2019

As expected from the Blackadder alumnus, his character is the bumbling hero who undermines his own efforts through an overestimated sense of self while saving the day despite his ineptitude.

One of the big disappointments in this film – and there are a few – is that the storyline is stolen from the equally bland and ridiculous Kingsman sequel that was released last year.

In an attempt to make the film work, the writer packed in as many gags – verbal and visual – as he could manage. At one point in the movie, there is a conversation that is one rapid-fired gag after another.

Sadly, the gags fall short in that the humour itself is dated and would only be significant to older audiences, but the film is clearly aimed at a younger demographic.

There are laughs to be had in this film but most are hidden safely inside some of the most cringe-worthy exposition and plot-development ever written.

6/10

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz

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