Film review: Johnny English Strikes Again

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18 October 2018

By Kieran

Have you ever sat in the cinema knowing that this is the final time you’ll ever watch the film? Well, now I have.

Johnny English Strikes Again is the third instalment of a baffling franchise. I mean, I like the first one well enough but did we need a trilogy? It seems they just pick Johnny off the shelf every seven years when they fancy another crack at it. Strikes Again concerns the rise of a cyber-terrorist who leaks the identity of every MI7 agent. The only agents not blown are retirees like Rowan Atkinson’s English and a couple of baffling cameos from Charles Dance and Michael Gambon. English must identify the incredibly obvious terrorist and save Britain.

Look, it gives me no joy to hate on this film. As one of the greatest comedians of all time, Atkinson delivers a flawless comic performance as always. His facial expressions and delivery are expectedly good. And there are some inventive setpieces in the film that hold decent comic potential. In one scene, Johnny has a car chase in a learner driver vehicle and it’s a genuinely inspired idea.

The problem is that the rest of the film is completely paper thin. It somehow manages to have less plot than the original Johnny English despite sharing almost the exact same plot as the original Johnny English. It’s basically a series of comic setpieces tied together by loose cliched scenes. Like a Mr Bean episode but with dull dialogue in between. They don’t explore some premises enough (like the driving one I mentioned) and some go on long after I, at least, had stopped chuckling.

It got a few laughs out of me but they were short and far between. At least it’s short. It’s an OK film to put on ITV during Christmas 2019 while you sleep off your turkey.

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