Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Emma Thompson
Director: David Kerr
Running Time: 88 mins
Johnny English Strikes Again is a British film and the third in the Johnny English series. After the identities of all MI7 agents are exposed by a hacker, only Johnny English is left to rescue Britain from a series of chaotic attacks.
I’ve always enjoyed the Johnny English movies, so I was absolutely delighted with the third entry in the series: Johnny English Strikes Again. With the brilliantly idiotic hilarity of The Pink Panther, and the fun factor of all the old Bond movies, I was laughing and smiling right the way through here, and even though there’s barely anything in terms of a story to follow, it proves a thoroughly entertaining watch from beginning to end.
I was really surprised by just how much I laughed in this movie, because while I’ve had good fun with the previous two films, I can’t say that I’ve ever found one quite so funny as this, but that really is a positive for a film that’s unashamedly silly and light-hearted throughout.
Taking all of the most generic tropes of spy movies, including all the clichés of old Bond and new Mission: Impossible movies, this film tells you that it’s not trying to create any sort of dramatic or exciting story right from the outset, and while that may prove a negative for lesser movies, it really doesn’t here.
There are so many jokes throughout the film, and although not every single one sticks the landing, the sheer quantity of gags coupled with the presence of a handful of properly funny ones makes the film a hugely entertaining watch, as Rowan Atkinson ups the funny factor another level with a delightfully silly performance.
Much like the old Pink Panther movies, Johnny English Strikes Again is pretty much a series of comedic setups strung loosely together by a very basic spy plot. If you’re looking for deep espionage thrills, then this definitely isn’t the film to watch, but there’s so much humour to enjoy throughout that the quality of the story really isn’t as important, as I found myself too busy laughing to really bother about anything else.
And what’s more is that, like Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther movies, Rowan Atkinson’s fantastically silly performance works perfectly once again, as we see him get into all sorts of ridiculous situations that, while entirely predictable and idiotic, are really brought to life by his onscreen brilliance, to the point that you never really get tired of watching him do the same thing over and over again.
And, much like the old Bond movies, the film has a great affection for all things old-school, brilliantly poking fun at many of the unnecessary frustrations of the modern world, all the while hitting home with a nice self-deprecating satire of the inefficiences of going analogue instead. It’s a point that’s occasionally pushed a little too much, but it proves a pleasing and entertaining element of the film throughout.
I can tell that this film won’t be for everyone, but I had a whole lot of fun with its unrelentingly silly and light-hearted atmosphere throughout. The first two acts in particular stand out with their rapid-fire jokes per minute ratio, and while the final act gets a little too interested in the story for its own good – taking away from the pure idiocy of the comedy – I was laughing a huge amount from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m giving Johnny English Strikes Again a 7.6 overall.