Johnny English Strikes Again
Johnny English Strikes Again is what happens when one takes James Bond, turns it into a kid-friendly comedy, and replaces Daniel Craig with Rowan Atkinson (of Mr Bean fame). Unsurprisingly, it only kind of works. The return of everyone’s favourite secret agent will be well met by children – but for the most part, anyone over the age of 12 will quickly grow bored of the film’s predictability.
In this third instalment of the series, we follow the eponymous protagonist’s rather embarrassing return to the spy force as a last resort for the clueless, aloof Prime Minister. English is reunited with his agent Bough, his beloved sidekick. Together they must save London from a series of cyber-attacks. This is not where the James Bond parallels end – there is the stereotypical beautiful double agent, the villain-disguised-as-a-hero, the chase scene, and the tech-savvy intern. The movie satirises the predictability of the spy-thriller genre, ironically becoming formulaic in itself.
Johnny English capitalises on innumerable clumsy failures, oversights, and errors on English’s part. For young audiences, each fall, spill, and energy-pill-fuelled-accidental-rave is funnier than the last. However, teenagers and adults will quickly crack the feature’s comedic code; after the umpteenth repeated joke, the lack of plot becomes strikingly apparent. Neither character development nor moral lessons are perceptible.
The movie’s production is shockingly good. Big-budget special effects heighten the suspense of every climactic scene, and the soundtrack only adds to the experience. Even the colour palette and costume design is distinctly reminiscent of each of its settings. In France, for example, red cars and glittering gowns punctuate each scene; in the Scottish G12 meeting, English disguises himself in a suit of armour.
For all its missteps, Johnny English Strikes Again is a fun and rather uplifting film that does not shy away from poking fun at everything from London traffic to the nation’s Prime Minister. The jokes are, individually, quite funny – even adults will laugh at English’s familiarity with technology, or his embarrassment in front of his lover/enemy/ally Ophelia. All in all, the film manages to make light of rather serious situations, reminding all audiences not to take life too seriously.
Johnny English Strikes Again is released nationwide on 5th October 2018.
Watch the trailer for Johnny English Strikes Again here: