Mon. Mar 25th, 2024

Johnny English Strikes Again… But should he?

By Craig House Oct 12, 2018

A cohort of children lining the aisle of the cinema, chaperoned by five , was a sign of what was to come. Twenty minutes into the film, as Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) delivered yet another forceful attempt at comedy, three nine-year olds two aisles down erupted into giggles.

Johnny English Strikes Again is the third film in the Johnny English series, a satire of the spy genre, which returns after a hiatus of seven years.

This third instalment gauges its narrative around this idea of a digital age. A Silicon Valley billionaire rich kid, cyber-attacks, VR simulations and even an exoskeleton suit brings the series into a modern setting.

The plot focuses around a mysterious villain committing digital atrocities around London, leaking identities of agents and even tampering with London’s traffic systems causing mass chaos.

The goofy protagonist is reenlisted by the secret service and he’s the agent tasked with stopping the attacks. The film is not bad by any means but the problem with a mounting number of sequels is they do not always live up to the greatness of their predecessors.

Johnny racing through the winding roads, at the beginning, in a red Aston Martin as ‘I’m Your Man’ by Wham is rather anti climatic in the grand scheme of things. The musical montage scene suggests that this film will meet the expectations of the hilarity of the first two films in the series. Just minutes later, as a third successive attempt at comedy goes unnoticed around the cinema and the answer becomes clearer.

Rowan Atkinson is a comedian at his core and it’s almost ludicrous to picture him in a serious role. He still delivers the laughs but as it just feels awkward, cliché and awfully predictable at points. The first two films don’t necessarily do anything different they just have the advantage of being less predictable and the expectation on the series wasn’t as high.

The film, despite its shortcomings, does deliver some hilarious moments which are perhaps so funny due to the exhausting build up to them. Johnny English is intended to be a clumsy spy and as an audience you expect everything he touches to go horribly wrong.

The problem with this being that when the two films have explored this formula so heavily, by the third time of showing you find yourself thinking, “Oh a highly dangerous secret operative gadget, I wonder what could possibly go wrong here?”

Johnny English as a series certainly doesn’t label itself as an adult comedy so to expect it to be one is perhaps misguided but the sheer number of children at the showing was certainly enlightening.

If you’re a hardcore Johnny English or even Rowan Atkinson fan you will want to see this film but if you’re a more casual viewer looking for an amusing film there are most certainly better titles.

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