Johnny English Strikes Back (2018) - UK / France
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Once in a while, the audience need this kind of escapist entertainment and the return of “Mr Bean” in the James Bond spoof - Johnny English. What is so funny about Rowan Atkinson is his classic exaggerated reactions and expressions to uncanny scenarios usually the cause of his own misdoing. The fact that he doesn’t care or understand his lack of skills for the expeditions as a M17 Spy makes the experience more comic than usual. Fortunately, the latest film directed by David Kerr have plenty of laugh out loud moments and Johnny English showing both his “silent comedy” techniques as well as his verbal comic timing interplay being at its very best. Despite the lack of story or 85 minutes bristling running, the film is an enjoyable one, even if it is just a pure popcorn guilty pleasure to boot.
Atkinson shows that his physical slapstick comedy is timeless and acts his age by being non-tech savy. It’s good old fashioned comedy that provides the film best moments, from set pieces of lighting up the restaurant on fire, running out of fuel during a car chase up the mountains to being a complete embarrassment during a virtual reality trial. Olga Kuryenko, former Bond girl provides the sexy Russian support and Ben Miller is ably sidekick. Emma Thomson does a fun imitation of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Jake Lacy plays the cyber villain is rather underdeveloped.
All in all, this film works for those who enjoyed any of the Johnny English and Mr Beans films and the humour is really more of the same. There are plenty laugh out loud moments and sometimes we need this kind of cinema. Whilst it does get predicable and even a tad boring during the uninspiring finale, we probably laughed enough along the way.
I rated it 7.5/10