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Oh Johnny English, how I’ve… not really missed you. Seriously, I know nostalgia is taking over cinemas, but this feels a little obscure. Were people rioting in London for a third installment these last seven years because I highly doubt it. Atkinson is usually associated with his Mr. Bean character, so I would imagine people would be demanding more from that. Sad news for those fanboys and girls that he just announced that he won’t be playing Mr. Bean anymore. I’d laugh at you if I gave a crap. I’ve never seen a Mr. Bean movie, so I can’t say how heartbreaking that is. Johnny English is all you get, suckers!
Speaking of which, I have no idea what the movie is about, but it looks like it’s just about English going on a mission and hi-jinks ensues.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Rowan Atkinson (LOVE ACTUALLY  and SCOOBY-DOO ), Olga Kurylenko (DEATH OF STALIN , THE WATER DIVINER , and upcoming films JANE MILLEN  and THE TRANSLATORS ), and Emma Thompson (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST , BRIDGET JONES 3 , BURNT , MEN IN BLACK 3 , Harry Potter AZKABAN , PHOENIX , DEATHLY HALLOWS 2 , and upcoming films MISSING LINK  and HOW TO BUILD A GIRL ).
In support, we have Michael Gambon (PADDINGTON 2 , VICTORIA & ABDUL , HAIL, CAESAR! , Harry Potter AZKABAN, GOBLET , PHOENIX, HALF-BLOOD , DEATHLY HALLOWS Parts 1  and 2, and upcoming films THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN  and JUDY ), Ben Miller (PADDINGTON 2 and JOHNNY ENGLISH), Charles Dance (Underworld BLOOD WARS  and AWAKENING , PRIDE, PREJUDICE, ZOMBIES , VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN , and upcoming films VIY 2: JOURNEY TO CHINA  and GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS ), and Jake Lacy (RAMPAGE , THEIR FINEST , MISS SLOANE , CAROL , and upcoming films ODE TO JOY  and OTHERHOOD ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have David Kerr, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Penning the screenplay is William Davies, known for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010), and upcoming films MIA AND THE WHITE LION (2018) and ABOMINABLE (2019). Composing the score is Howard Goodall, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. The cinematographer is Florian Hoffmeister, known for MORTDECAI (2015). Finally, co-editors are Tony Cranstoun (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Mark Everson (PADDINGTON 2).
Overall, I think this might be alright. Some jokes had me going and I’m certainly excited to see Miller return as Bough since his (sort of) absence in the second film. Do I think it’ll be great? No, but I think this has some potential to be funny at best, likable at worst.
This is my honest opinion of: JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN
MI7 has just been hacked and the identities of every active agent has been revealed. The only hope they have is to use retired agents and their only two are Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) and Bough (Ben Miller) and they head to France, chasing down the source of the attack.
Oh thank God, this movie isn’t that bad. I won’t say it’s funnier than the second one, but I’d have taken something that at least mildly amused me.
At first, the movie had me going through a roller coaster of expectations. The opening was fun enough, him being a school teacher and teaching kids to be master spies in secret at a standard school, as opposed to actual lessons. But then movie sort of dives into a puddle with its humor, many of them falling especially flat. Case in point, the pen that knocks out the other older agents. But from this point on, it has this weird balance of being funny and not-so-funny. The inflatable raft going off in the car, not so funny. The failed dive off of the yacht, pretty funny. The party scene where Johnny attempts to look like a waiter while stealing a dude’s phone, not funny. There’s even weird scenes that are really funny, but have really dumb moments sprinkled in them. Like the pair of scenes where Ophelia Bhuletova (Olga Kurylenko) is trying to kill him. Johnny unknowingly slamming the door in her face, classic slapstick always tickles me a bit, and trying to kill him in the club while he’s high off a pill, a confusing mix of the funniest crap in this movie, as well as not the funniest. Weirdly enough, the reverse is true too, in that there’s scenes that aren’t funny at all, but have one golden moment that made it worthwhile anyway. The highly marketed virtual reality simulator sequence, which should have been the funniest stuff in the movie was surprisingly dull… up until Johnny kicks an old lady in a wheelchair into oncoming traffic. That got me howling. There’s stuff that works and stuff that doesn’t laced throughout the movie.
The closest thing to a problem that I have with the flick is that, yet again, we have a villain who wants to use cyberspace as his main weapon to hold the world hostage and get the world leaders to do what he wants. Is anyone else frustrated by this? No new villain like this does anything new. It’s all about stealing money, exposing stuff, there’s just nothing to these characters anymore. As a result, the villain of the movie will be forgotten. It may be a small detail, but it’s a detail that seems to find its way in movies more and more these days and I’m getting rather bored of it.
Overall, I had a pretty solid time with this movie compared to other comedies on the market. It has its moments, both good and bad, so I think reception is going to be pretty mixed. I think RottenTomatoes is trashing it, but IMDb gives it a pretty decent rating, so as far as recommendations go, if you were a fan of the first two films, then there’s not a whole lot of reason to say you won’t enjoy this new outing. But if you were hoping for some amazing, groundbreaking comedy, or even just a really good comedy, admittedly, you’re not going to find it here. It’s a dumb, but kinda fun comedy spy film. Take that for what you will.
My honest rating for JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN: a strong 3/5
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