reflection

While undeniably stupid, Johnny English Strikes Again has enough laughs and action to be the best entry in the series yet.
Story
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN With Laughs And Action

Johnny English Strikes Again is the newest entry in the spy spoof series headlined by Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame. The film follows Johnny English as he is forced to come out of retirement to find an evil mastermind after a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active operatives in Britain.

This film was almost certainly made as an international cash-grab. The series has always had a better track record across the pond than it did domestically. The first film was far from a smash hit here, only making $28 million stateside, but cashing in on $132 million in other territories. The sequel was even less successful in the States, making just over $8 million, but was a bigger success overseas, making upwards of $150 million. Prior to its U.S. release, the newest entry has already racked up north of $80 million worldwide, so it is sure to be an overall success.

johnny english dancing
Rowan Atkinson stars as Johnny English in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, a Focus Features release.

Having watched the first two films in preparation, this newest entry is perhaps the most intriguing of the three. It contains the signature bumbling humor for which the series and its star are known, but delivered in a somewhat more balanced way. The plot is neither overly ridiculous, nor overly grim. Instead, the film has a nice balance between the humorous and action-packed elements.

The film had some very funny moments. Although a few of the recurring Atkinson gags are worn out by now, the film throws in some newer elements that are hilarious. Although the series has always been based on fish-out-of-water comedy, this entry takes it to the extreme, as it places the now 63 year-old actor in situations with new and futuristic technology. The film also uses a lot of irony, which elicited many laughs too. Although the humor isn’t particularly highbrow, it is amusing nonetheless.

The action storyline in this film was also relatively interesting. It is predictable and follows the same formula as the other two films, but this one has more intelligence because of the impact of modern technology on the plot. Although the villain is still a generic bad guy, the threat he poses feels more real and pertinent than the other two films.

johnny english covert
Rowan Atkinson stars as Johnny English in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, a Focus Features release.

The film’s execution also benefits from modern technology. The technical aspects are of far higher quality because of newer camera equipment and special effects. This makes the film more exciting and more likely to appeal to the younger boy audience at which the film seems to be aimed. However, the modern is blended with the old school, such as English’s signature Aston Martin, that is sure to please the target audience’s parents and older fans of the franchise who saw the original when they were younger.

Overall, while Johnny English Strikes Again may not have been an entirely necessary re-visit to the series, it is amusing enough that it is likely to be a hit with its overseas target audience. It is worth checking out if you are a fan of Rowan Atkinson or have young kids interested in a goofy spy romp.

Johnny English Strikes Again opens in theaters October 26.

Sean Boelman
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film; however, he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.
While undeniably stupid, <i>Johnny English Strikes Again</i> has enough laughs and action to be the best entry in the series yet.Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN With Laughs And Action