Like the fictional spy after which “Johnny English Strikes Again (JESA)” is based on, watching JESA is equal parts frustrating and effective, though its comedic roots and simple plot make for easy and light watching.
When all of the identities of MI7’s (British Military Intelligence) agents are exposed, the British Prime Minister, who is about to host a G12 (Group of 12) meeting, is forced to call up ex-agents whose identities are still secure. Here is where Johnny English (played by Rowan Atkinson) comes into the picture. Currently working as a teacher, while covertly scouting for children with spy potential, he is delighted to hear that his services are needed once again.
The best scene by far, for me, would be the opening scene, in which whatever is mentioned in the previous paragraph occurs. With no lack of jokes, shenanigans and tomfoolery, this scene serves as the starter dish to the larger entrée, letting you know what to expect in the next hour or so. However, given how light-hearted the movie is, those expecting a more traditional spy flick will undoubtedly be disappointed. (But I mean come on, it’s Johnny English)
That brings me to my next point, Rowan Atkinson once again steals the show as the seemingly empty-headed elite spy who only succeeds in missions due to sheer dumb luck. Having said that, a scene in the movie where Atkinson supposedly breaks character, turning somber and serious, passes by too quickly. While I love the funny man we all know Atkinson to be (see Mr Bean), I felt like the potential to showcase Atkinson’s wider repertoire of acting skills was throughly wasted. If he could pull it off convincingly, that just adds another feather to his cap, to be honest with you.
What JESA lacks in intelligence, it makes up for in its comedic value. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, with simple but effective jokes, slapstick and a predictable plot. All these coupled together, make for an enjoyable, if somewhat intellectually empty two-hours or so of your life. Deservedly, it earns three stars out of five.
If you’re not one for complex interweaving plot threads and development, “Johnny English Strikes Again” is definitely the movie for you!
Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️