Rowan Atkinson returns to the big screen with this sequel to 2003 spy romp Johnny English.
As before, the UK’s security is threatened and only the accident prone English (Atkinson) stands in the way of global chaos. Cue laughs, thrills and plenty of action.
The original Johnny English remains one of the funnier and more accurate 007 satires and this sequel manages to cram in even more laughs and Bond references.
In the gap between instalments, the Bond franchise has moved into a new gritty era and Johnny English Reborn does a great job of mimicking its more serious tone.
The new film is much larger than the first, there’s a boat chase in the early part of the film that many ‘straight’ serious action films would be envious of and a chase through Hong Kong that wouldn’t be out of place in a Bond of Bourne flick.
Woven into the pretty straight plot are the mandatory ‘prat fall’ opportunities which allow Atkinson to showcase his undoubted prowess at physical comedy.
In addition to the physical comedy, the film has some great satire to offer including the corporately sponsored M-17, tagline: “spying for you” and complete with customer-friendly receptionists and website.
A couple of the gags become a bit repetitive but Director Oliver Parker is largely successful in knowing when to end the joke and move on.
While he’s certainly still accident prone, this time round English is a far more rounded character who shows bravery and determination in his pursuit of duty. In this respect English is far closer to Bond than he is Steve Martin’s Clouseau.
Joining Atkinson are Dominic West, Gillian Anderson and genuine ‘Bond Girl’ Rosamund Pike, all of whom deliver the solid performances expected of them but are never in danger of outshining Atkinson.
Other than Atkinson, the acting praise belongs to Skins star Daniel Kaluuya who plays English’s sidekick Special Agent Tucker and delivers an assured, confident performance which at times equals Atkinson’s own.
A clever, inventive British comedy with something for the whole family- four and a half out of five!
Opens across the UK on October 7th.