This one's worth checking out.

Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English.

Funny enough; better than expected

Rowan Atkinson is put in the shoes of dim-witted British secret agent Johnny English for the second time in his career in Johnny English Reborn, the new action comedy by Oliver Parker.

I must say, the laughs I had during the film were more than I had expected and the times I rolled my eyes were fewer than I had predicted. Atkinson gives us his best here, although there are a bit too many gags centered around his many goofy facial expressions, as well as his crotch, but the latter becomes important to the plot, actually.

At the beginning of the film we learn that in between this sequel and the first film, English messed up during a mission in Mozambique, costing him his job. We join him in Tibet where monks teach him martial arts and such. He is, however, eventually hired by MI7, a spying organisation that thinks he is the right man for the job of finding the three men who hold the keys to unlocking some sort of assassination weapon, which will be used on the Chinese premiere.

Johnny gets his spying job back and is also given a sidekick – Agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya) – although his employer “Pegasus” (Gillian Anderson) know of his past failures and won’t accept him making the same mistake he made in Mozambique. Other people Johnny meets include the suspicious Agent Simon Ambrose (Dominic West), his love interest Kate Summers (Rosamund Pike) and an old Chinese lady (Pik-Sen Lim) who is an assassin with a multitude of weaponry. A running gag involves Johnny confusing her with an innocent lady.

Gillian Anderson's character explains the new assignment to Agent English.

Throughout the film, Johnny English does a lot of clumsy stuff, of course, but there are times when his accidents help him out, rendering Johnny oblivious to the fact that he even made a mistake at all. There is a bit during the climax that would’ve been perfect for this sort of gag, but the oppurtunity was wasted.

Allow me to elaborate; Johnny has the villain at gunpoint in a cable car and cluelessly starts backing towards the opened door. He is obviously going to fall out, and so he indeed does. It would’ve been funny if they had reached the ground by the exact second he stepped outside, preventing the fall and surprising the audience, but nope.

I did like Johnny English Reborn more than I thought I would, but there were still a few jokes and gags that made me roll my tired eyes. During a fight scene with a mook, Johnny nearly gets hit in the groin, cue a reaction shot of a crowd of onlookers going “oooh”. Was I wrong when I thought that we had seen this gag too many times in cinema? Also, Atkinson’s facial expressions weren’t always that amusing.

As I was saying, I enjoyd the film much more than expected, but I’ve not been sure whether I should rate it 4/5 for pleasantly surprising me, or just 3.5/5 for a bit too many unfunny gags for a strong recommendation. Now my mind is made up and I’m settling with a 3.5, but keep in mind, that still means it is worth seeing. I can’t say how much you will laugh if you see it, but you will. Unless you’re feeling depressed or something.

Some of the funniest parts of the film are the ones with the Asian assassin-lady, who dresses up as cleaners, a golfer, the queen and other things. I’ve never seen someone disguise a gattling gun as a golf bag before, certainly.

3.5/5 whatever

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