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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: Third "Johnny English" film mostly strikes out

Oct 27, 2018 11:38AM ● By Dan Metcalf

Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Strikes Again - © 2018 Universal.

Johnny English Strikes Again (Universal)

Rated PG for some action violence, rude humor, language and brief nudity.

Starring Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Adam James, Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Miranda Hennessy, Irena Tyshyna, David Mumeni, Tuncay Gunes, Matthew Beard, Pauline McLynn, Charles Dance, Michael Gambon and Edward Fox. 

Written by William Davies.

Directed by David Kerr.



I think Rowan Atkinson might really be an alien. His most famous character Mr. Bean is loosely constructed on the idea of an alien trying to fit in among Earth’s humans, and his odd physical characteristics certainly lean in that direction. Atkinson is a gifted comedian to be sure, but more recently, his cinematic schtick hasn’t progressed much further than the same kind of physical comedy connected to Bean. In his latest film, Johnny English Strikes Again (the third installment of a series) Atkinson keeps his physical style of comedy on the same wavelength, without much variation.

Atkinson plays the title role of English, a bumbling (former) “MI7” spy now teaching geography at a private school outside London. When a cyber attack cripples the British intelligence community by divulging all the operatives’ identities, the prime minister (Emma Thompson) is forced to bring English out of retirement as the only “qualified” former spy left. English requires that the agency also bring his former tech handler Bough (Ben Miller) as well. Their path leads to the south of France where an American tech billionaire named Jason Volta has parked his huge yacht equipped with all sorts of tech and off-shore computer servers. Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko) is a Russian spy working undercover as Volta’s girlfriend. English and Ophelia cross paths as the truth about Volta’s involvement in the cyber attacks becomes obvious. Through several zany mishaps, the two spies eventually join forces to take Volta down as his plot to control the world’s data comes to fruition during a summit of world leaders in Scotland.

Johnny English Strikes Again has a few moments worth chuckling over, but nothing cleverer than anything you’ve already seen in a Mr. Bean episode or film. He even uses some of the same dance moves from the last Mr. Bean film. Some gags work, but more often they don’t, making Johnny English Strikes Again a mostly forgettable movie among so many other spy spoofs. Yes, Atkinson is charming and Olga Kurylenko is stunning and Emma Thomson is a class act – but Johnny English Strikes Again mostly strikes out.

Johnny English Strikes Again Trailer