Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
This is the third and to date final instalment of the Johnny English comedy films. Once again, Rowan Atkinson starred as the patriotic but rather hapless spy. This was about seven years on from the second film. One positive thing about this was that Ben Miller returned as English’s sidekick Bough, he was absent from the previous film, and he was missed.
Also among the cast is Emma Thompson as a rather short-tempered British Prime Minister. The idea is that after a cyber attack, leaving several spies around the world exposed, English is asked to come out of retirement to save his country’s reputation… again. He is currently working at a school, and has mostly left the spying profession behind.
This meant that he had to deal with modern technology, although he probably couldn’t tell a computer from a Pot Noodle. And once again, he will save the day, although he won’t really be sure how he did it. He definitely doesn’t do things by the book, that’s for sure. It turned out that this was indeed a job well done, I hope that he got a medal for it.
And as always, there are lots of silly set pieces, including car chases and malfunctioning gadgets, plus the regulation amount of silly faces and falling over. But there seemed to be much less of a buzz around Johnny English Strikes Again then there was for the previous two films, this one didn’t really seem to cause that much of a stir by comparison.
Some critics felt that most of the ideas had been exhausted, and they didn’t accuse Atkinson of going through the motions as such, but it was soon clear that there were only so many things that you can blow up before it isn’t as funny as it used to be, and some reviews had a tone of “is Atkinson only doing this again because he has to pay the bills” which was rather disappointing.
I must admit that I had practically forgotten about this one myself, it’s not even on ITV2 almost every weekend like the other two films seem to be. Maybe it really is finally time for Johnny to hang up his suit for good. DVD extras include a commentary, plus a look at some of the shiny cars and gadgets, how everything was put together, and so on.