Entertainment Editor, Dan Webb reviews Rowan Atkinson’s reprise of the iconic role of Johnny English.
Something that I have always been a fan of is quirky British comedy. The art of a British comedy is quite different to that of many other countries; in fact many times they offer you a very pessimistic outlook on life as a whole, albeit through a humorous and relatable viewpoint. However, there is a sub-genre of British comedy which highlights absurdity above all else. It was pioneered by the Monty Python team in the 1970s with smash hits such as Monty Python and The Holy Grail and has been revisited time and time again since. One actor that has always had my attention for his involvement in such comedies is Rowan Atkinson whose work on Mr Bean and Blackadder has given us some of the most peculiar, and dare I say, brilliant characters in pop culture history. Today I decided to go and see Johnny English Strikes Again, the third in a spy comedy series starring Atkinson in the lead role and well, let’s just say I may have paid with more than just my wallet.
Now don’t get me wrong I have always enjoyed the original Johnny English. To me it has always been one of those films you pop on when your just in the mood to switch your brain off and watch a man singing ABBA into his toothbrush. As you can tell it’s by no means a smart movie, in fact it is incredibly silly, sometimes not in such a positive way but it has its moments. I cannot say the same about Johnny English Strikes Again a sequel that in my opinion had no business being made in the first place.
The film sees English trying and accidentally succeeding in foiling the plans of an evil mastermind, someone so diabolical it doesn’t even beg mentioning…. a dot com billionaire. Of course in a society completely dominated by technological development it’s not surprising filmmakers often turn to using that as their inspiration. However when your execution has the coherence of a two year old, that just kills all possible potential and makes you think of what could have been.
The narrative in the film is non existent. The short synopsis mentioned above is basically all the audience are given to go on, the rest of the plot if you can call it that is made up of English finding himself in several different scenarios predictably muddling up his actions and coming out on top due to chance and luck. Now I know that it’s basically the same story in the original film but I’d argue that the plot at least had a structure in the original. In this film we seemingly go from Point A to Point Z without anything in-between and that is in my opinion is a classic example of how not to make a movie.
Now okay, maybe I would be willing to forgive the film for lack of plot or a solid narrative if the humour was on tee, sadly however it’s not. The jokes are really predictable and have little to no effect on the audience, the screening I was in was dead silent for almost all of the film. I will admit there are some moments that had me laughing, one in particular involving a pair of VR goggles and a two baguettes, but that is mainly due in part to Atkinson’s style of physical comedy. However these moments are few and far between, and when your comedy film isn’t making the audience laugh – you have definitely done something wrong.
It seems that October has gotten off to a rough start with films like Johnny English Strikes Again and the trainwreck that is Venom. One can only hope that as we move further into the month films such as Halloween and Damien Chazelle’s First Man will give us some good movies, because I could really use one right now.