Seven years after his last appearance on the big screen, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is back for more as Britain’s favourite accidental secret agent. Now retired from MI7, English is a Geography teacher who dabbles in training his students as the spies of the future.

The film wastes no time in getting straight into the action. The opening shot depicts a member of MI7 playing Temple Run (perhaps a more relevant app could have been chosen) as the details of all Britain’s secret service agents are hacked. With all agents losing their anonymity, MI7 have to turn to their retired employees. This happens to include of course, through his own mishap, English.

English, who frequently reminds you  throughout the film, is against modern technology and goes on his new mission ‘analogue’. Reunited with Bough (Ben Miller) the pair blunder round in their attempts to identify who is hacking Britain’s security network.

The film greatly suffers with the predictability of its jokes, with many of the highlights included in the trailer. That does not mean to say it is not an enjoyable watch, but it is usually pretty clear that the punchline of a joke is thus – English is naff spy.

Perhaps the film’s finest moment is when English mistakes a sleeping pill for an energy pill, leading to Atkinson getting to show off his trademark dance moves (including THAT pelvic thrust). There is the usual spy film satire that one can expect from a Johnny English, such as the art of wooing the ‘Bond girl’ character. None of this is entirely new material, with Atkinson bumbling his way through scenes as one might expect.

As English and Bough become closer to Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko), a Russian spy, they uncover that the perpetrator of the hackings is Jason Volta (Jake Lucy), a Hollywood tech billionaire. Unfortunately, for English, Volta has been cosying up to the Prime Minister as the man with the solution to the country’s tech issues. When asked to back up his accusation, English has typically misplaced the damning footage he had recorded  of Volta.

Johnny English Strikes Again does have its moments that will make you smile, maybe even giggle – but it does not reinvent the wheel. That is not necessarily the point of this film though; from the onset, it was never going to be an Oscar winner. Frankly, it is an hour and a half of entertainment to take you away from reality for a short period and that should be the purpose of film after all. If you enjoyed the first two films, then you will probably enjoy this one too. Just maybe don’t watch the trailer beforehand, or go in expecting too much, and you’ll have a good time.

3 stars

Image credit: Movie DB


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