Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Adam James
Director: David Kerr
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in “Johnny English Strikes Again”. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology-or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.
Another installment of the Johnny English franchise, another mediocre, uninspired comedy that very few will care about. I know these movies make a ton of money in overseas territories, but as an American, not too many people are attached to these films the way Europeans are. Maybe the humor does not translate as well over here, but it is tough to watch a film with no real substance and is more or less just a series of bits over the course of 89 minutes. Combined with the fact that Atkinson’s humor can be tough for some people to handle, Johnny English Strikes Again is the third, and hopefully final, boring try at a franchise that needs to end already.
The film follows Johnny English (Atkinson), a former MI7 spy who has left the agency to teach at an elementary school. After a cyber attack reveals the identity of every active spy in the United Kingdom, English is brought back out of retirement to find the person responsible for the attack and keeping the country safe from future attacks. From the beginning, you know exactly what type of movie this is going to be and exactly how the story is going to go. The villain is identifiable as soon as they appear on-screen, you can see the jokes coming a mile away, and the story is every story we have ever seen in an action comedy. I get that this is supposed to be a turn your brain off comedy where people go just to have fun and not really think about anything, but at least show that you put some effort into your product. This barely even feels like a movie, with all of the short gags and bits that stay with this story, it almost feels as though someone gave a huge budget to a silly web series. There are a couple of moments where I thought there was a chance that something special was going to happen, but unfortunately nothing came out of them. The one I thought in particular was the fact that English is using technology from the 1990s and early 2000s against an enemy that has advanced machinery and can infiltrate government systems like they are nothing, but once again nothing really funny came out of it. I can give a lot of movies a free pass if they are not funny as long as they try to do something unique or interesting, but that is never the case here. When you can see everything coming before it even comes close to happening, a short, silly 89 minute comedy turns into a movie that ends up being an absolute chore to get through. I think deep down, we all know that Atkinson can choose to do better projects than this, but for some reason he comes back to this series every once in a while for no apparent reason. Maybe he likes the character, maybe he likes the money he earns as this series brings him, but either way there has to be something better for him to work on.
Overall, there has to be something I am missing about these films. They keep getting made and reliably make hundreds of millions of dollars each time, so I just have a hard time seeing what the appeal of these movies is. Well, whatever the appeal is, I hope they take this opportunity to go out on a low note. If they do however decide they want to make another sequel in this franchise, I hope they decide to give a little bit of thought and care into their next project and that they reap the benefits for their actions.
Overall Score: 3/10