So with Daniel Craig’s 007 seemingly out of action, Amazon Prime has released Her Majesty’s more comedically inclined operative, Johnny English back onto its subscribers. As a thinly-veiled pastiche of James Bond, the British penchant for parody is again duly served in this third outing of a smug superspy who can do very little right.
…a welcome yet undemanding slice of what you already know, brought to you by people who can get the job done.
Built as the error-prone stylings of his Mr Bean and Blackadder personas, Rowan Atkinson’s take on Jonh English is a dependable delivery of slapstick and carelessly tossed asides. And much like the franchise that it likes to parody, this Johnny English movie (much like the others) is highly formulaic, but then again, like the Bond movies that they ape, that’s its charm. You see, when you settle down at the end of a hard week, you want something that’ll wash away your work life with a reassuring premise: The world’s gone to hell. British Intelligence is at a loss. And there’s only one man for the job: Atkinson… Rowan Atkinson.
Surrounded by familiar characters like Ben Miller’s Bough and national treasures like Emma Thompson (who is doubling up for Judi Dench), Johnny English Strikes Again with a surefire formula that swaps the furniture around in a richly entertaining way without ever knocking anything important over. With its opening reveal that Johnny English is now a much-loved school teacher, who slyly finds ways of instilling counter-surveillance techniques into the kids’ homework, Johnny English is much less a smug Mr Bean and more a Mr Dun-roaming.
Dusted down and sent back out into the field, the pomposity and the privilege of the rich and powerful become the movie’s usual targets. Bonafide Bond girl Olga Kurylenko defies both age and expectation with a nicely judged semi-serious turn as Russian spy Ophelia Bhuletova, leaving Johnny and Bough take care of the faux pas.
Clocking in at a popcorn-tastic, albeit regulation running time of 90 minutes, Johnny English Strikes Again is a welcome yet undemanding slice of what you already know, brought to you by people who can get the job done. The jokes are slight, the MI6 mayhem is to be as expected, but with its license for laughter now brought up-to-date, this is one three-quell that is unlikely to Die Another Day.
Ok. So, I think that about wraps it up for this episode.