Director: David Kerr
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko, Jake Lacy, Emma Thompson
Run Time: 89 mins
It’s rather surprising that a third Johnny English film has actually been made and released, considering the lukewarm responses to the first two entries. I’ve got a soft spot for both, particularly the second one, and there is no denying that Rowan Atkinson is a physical comedy genius. Both films were fun, memorable endeavours that offered a unique parody on the spy genre and both are really energetically well-paced.
In the interim between Johnny English Reborn and this film, Atkinson’s spy now works as a geography teacher in a private school who secretly trains his students in the art of espionage and the relationship between him and the students is reminiscent of School of Rock. However, after a cyber-attack on MI7 that exposes all of the identities of its current agents. Of course, this means that English is now called back into action. After taking a break from the second film, Ben Miller’s Bough from the first film returns as English’s sidekick and the two team up to resolve this problem.
Johnny English Strikes Again sadly lacks the energy and memorability of the first two and the humour just isn’t as sharp or sophisticated. It also rehashes set pieces and comes across as a bit of a ‘greatest hits’ of the first two. That said, there are some individual set pieces that work and Atkinson is clearly having a good time and is more than up to the task of this role reprisal. The film even offers slight amounts of of political satire, for instance, there are comparisons between Emma Thompson’s Prime Minister and Theresa May to be made, particularly the methods in which she responds to the hacking. Despite Johnny English Strikes Again being a lesser film in the trilogy, it’s never boring and as the film finds its footing as it goes along, it’s just about good enough.