Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! Just as a heads up, this review will contain spoilers. Spoilers will be in areas with bold warnings, but the spoilers won’t ruin what is a hilarious film.
There are some things that you associate with a country. Baguettes and croissants remind people of France, kangaroos and didgeridoos remind people of Australia and so on. Some things are unmistakably British. The Queen, fish and chips, football, and of course, spies. Since 1935 when ‘The 39 Steps’ were made, spies have been one of the biggest parts of Hollywood’s releases, with the James Bond franchise having grossed just over $7 billion at the box office. Only recently have spy films started to incorporate comedy within them, such as Kingsman and The Spy Who Dumped Me. One of the earliest examples of this was 2003’s Johnny English. 15 years later, and the series lives on, with the latest addition, Johnny English Strikes Again, hitting cinemas globally this month.
David Kerr directs the third instalment in the Johnny English, where Johnny is now retired as a teacher. When a hacker infiltrates MI7 and reveals all of the current spies out in action, Johnny is called back in to track down the hacker and bring him to justice. Johnny is reunited with Bough and together the pair must use their (lack of) skills to defeat modern technology and succeed in their mission.
Rowan Atkinson returns to play the titular character and shows that age is no restriction when it comes to making movies. Atkinson is known most famously for playing Mr Bean because of his physical comedy ability. Johnny English Strikes Again further proves that Atkinson is a master of it. Atkinson could have said nothing in this film and it would have been hilarious nonetheless. Whether it be dancing hyperactively to Darude’s Sandstorm or cooling his mouth after eating a hot nut, Atkinson nails this role once again. Ben Miller is also back to play English’s right-hand man, Agent Bough. It was great to see the duo reunited and the chemistry and comedy between them were fantastic. He was a fun character and I liked the way that Miller played him. Olga Kurylenko played Ophelia, a spy against English. I can’t reveal too much about her character, but she was a good character, well played by Kurylenko, but I felt we could have had some more character development of Ophelia, as we were just thrown in with her being there. They did develop her character a bit as the film went along, but nothing was really done with these developments. The Prime Minister was played hilariously well by Emma Thompson. I would have loved to have seen more from her character, but other than that she was great in this film.
The music was actually one of the best parts of the film. It had something for everyone, from ‘Venus’ by Bananarama to Changing by Sigma, even with Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’. The best music moment is a spoiler for what was the funniest part of the movie. All I’ll say is it’s Darude’s Sandstorm in a hilariously fantastic scene.
If you don’t wish to read any spoilers, skip this next paragraph and continue reading from the next bold indication mark.
In all honesty, this film was funnier than I was expecting. As Johnny English is marketed as a comedy, any jokes are spoilers. Johnny English Strikes Again doesn’t fall down the usual hole of using up all the good jokes in the trailer. I found that the first half of the movie used up all of the jokes from the trailer, making the first half more boring than the second. As mentioned above, the funniest moment featured Darude’s Sandstorm. We see Johnny take a pill causing him to be hyperactive. He heads to a disco room in the hotel he’s staying at and dances wackily in time to Sandstorm, slowing down and speeding up with the music. The comedy was fantastic and better than expected.
The villain, Jason Volta (played by Jake Lacy) was kind of predictable. I figured out in the first 20 minutes what was going down. One thing that annoyed me about the film is that Ophelia was revealed to be a Russian spy, but didn’t really do much with it. The film could have had more too it and was quite simple, lacking in areas that, if expanded on (as it was only 90 minutes long) could have made for a better movie.
There are no more spoilers, and it is safe to continue reading.
Johnny English Strikes Again was quite formulaic. There’s a problem, Johnny English is called in, comedy and action take place, Johnny accuses someone who you know is the villain but MI7 think he’s crazy and has no clue he’s right, MI7 get mad and fire him, Johnny comes back and proves that he was correct and saves the day before the film ends on an awkward yet somewhat funny cliffhanger. You could argue that this is the same for most movies, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with Johnny English, it’s the same guy doing the same antics repeatedly, just with different comedy and different situations that he’s thrown into. In the MCU, you have different people with different backgrounds against different threats. Admittedly, the MCU is also formulaic, but not so much as other franchises like Johnny English and the Fast and Furious series. Another thing that I didn’t like is how the film would give itself away. Bough would say that something may happen, Johnny would say that he was being silly and ignore it, then it would happen five minutes later. The comedy was better than expected and actually made the film better, and that’s mainly down to Atkinson’s brilliant acting. His physical comedy combined with situations in the film was the best part of the film. However, the film was flat in places. It had its moments of great comedy and action but failed to keep me entertained throughout.
Overall, Johnny English Strikes Again is a 7.1/10. It was a good film that was interesting in places, and hilarious in others, but didn’t have much else going for it. The only reason why it got a 7.1/10 is down to Atkinson’s acting ability and humour that made the film so much better than expected.
Thanks for reading this weeks review. I know I said I’d review a prison thriller for this week, but my friends and I made plans to catch Johnny English last weekend. Sorry, this weeks review was out late. Follow me on Instagram for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more. Follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.
Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I actually review a prison thriller from recently. Not many people have seen it, but I can promise that it’s a good one. See you then!