‘Johnny English Strikes Again’ Film Review

This October looks like a pretty impressive month for film with upcoming releases including: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, ‘First Man’, ‘Halloween’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Unfortunately, this week is pretty dry with my options limited to: ‘Venom’ (which has received some exceptionally terrible reviews) and ‘Johnny English 3’ (a film that was likely to be terrible with at least a few funny gags.) Therefore with little desire to see either; I went for Johnny English in the hope it would make me laugh at least once. But would a film I had anticipated to be absolutely terrible even be able to manage that?

What is it about?

When MI7’s database is hacked and all it’s active agents are subsequently exposed; they are left with no choice but to recall Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson,) as an agent, to find out who is behind the cyber attack. With the help of Bough (Ben Miller) he makes his way to France where the source of the servers carrying out the attack is traced to. However, while the duo remain in France, the attacks back in the UK increase in scale and severity. Therefore, the Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) is forced to take drastic measures to protect public security and her own image by transferring all of the Country’s data to an American Billionaire’s private servers. However, when her rash decision proves to have potentially horrific consequences; it is down to English to find the perpetrator.

What did I think?

This film was funny. Although I held out little hope beforehand of more than a few laughs; almost all the way through the film I found myself in hysterics at what was going on. The whole film was totally ridiculous but that’s what made the best pockets of the film so completely hilarious. My favourite sequence was definitely the VR section and I thought the way this was tied in with real life was actually quite well done. However, just thinking back now I can vividly remember a number of scenes throughout the film that I enthusiastically laughed out loud at, which suggests the main laughs were not just limited to this small section. This consistent hilarity meant that despite a flimsy plot I was never bored and surprisingly left the cinema wanting more.

Nevertheless, although this worked as a spoof comedy, I have to take into consideration the other parts about it that weren’t so effective; most prominently- the narrative. Although I didn’t expect this film to win the ‘Best Original Screenplay’ Oscar; I had hoped for something that was feasible and relatable, at least in points. This film could not have felt further from reality, it’s completely outrageous plot never allowed me to get on board with anything that was going on and also left me completely devoid of a connection to the characters. One of the very first major plot sequences, with Johnny English and Bough at a restaurant, was not funny at all and the attempted cringe humour left me worried about the potential state of the rest of the film. It was pockets like this throughout that meant I could never totally engage with the film. Finally, I think this film sets a record for the number of times I have just felt like exasperatingly exclaiming “WHY?!” because of: Atkinson’s stupidity and the film itself’s general stupidity.

My Rating: 5/10

This film is a lot of fun. It is ridiculous, makes no sense and knows this the whole time; but still works on the whole. It is not a film that needs to be seen in cinema but when it’s showing on the TV in a couple of years time I’ll be sure to watch it again with my family.

P.S. I have just finished watching ‘Killing Eve’ and thought it was fantastic, would highly recommend to everyone. Comment if you want a full review.

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