"Funnier and Better"
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, the third in a series of spy spoofs starring Rowan Atkinson, is the best, funniest one so far. JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN also is one of the year’s funniest movies, an hilarious comedy where the bumbling British spy squares off against a conceited tech wizard from Silicon Valley trying to take over the world by bamboozling the British Prime Minister.
The movie begins with a retired Johnny English teaching spy tricks to a bunch of schoolchildren at a private school. Meanwhile, a mysterious computer hacker taps into Britain’s spy agencies, revealing the identities of all her majesty’s secret agents. When the same unknown hacker taps into Britain’s traffic systems, the county’s harried female Prime Minister orders the spy agencies to call in all the retired secret agents.
Of course, Johnny English sees this as a great opportunity to get back into the spy game. However, he accidentally triggers a device that puts all the other, elderly spies to sleep for a couple days, so he’s given the assignment to find and stop the hacker. Along for the ride is Johnny’s former assistant, Bough.
As usual, Johnny turns out to be a roving accident waiting to happen. The comical complications begin before Johnny can even follow the mysterious hacker’s trail to France, when Johnny demands all his old spy gadgets and rejects any digital ones that might lead the hacker back to him.
Naturally, the prime suspect turns out to be a super-rich American tech wizard from Silicon Valley, the very person the Prime Minister wants to hire to fix Britain’s high-tech glitches.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is an hilarious, delightful spy spoof. Rowan Atkinson, who plays television’s Mr. Bean and starred as the crazy Italian guy in the underrated comedy RAT RACE, outdoes himself here. Some of his comic bits play like very short, separate skits of their own while others are integrated more fully into the movie’s main plot. Whatever the case, they’re smoothly edited together to create a really entertaining, frequently funny movie experience.
The movie’s story is dedicated to making viewers laugh. Underneath those laughs, however, is a plot about a conceited, self-righteous tech wizard from Silicon Valley who wants to take over the world by hacking into and controlling the systems of the world’s 12 major nations. In order to do that, he deceives the British Prime Minister by secretly attacking her government’s computer systems and offering his company’s software as the solution.
This plot may not seem important or morally relevant, but, in reality, it serves as a comic warning about letting self-interested high-tech companies, like the ones from Silicon Valley, control society and the technology that makes things run. The movie’s high-tech villain wants to control things behind the scenes, but when Johnny accidentally foils his plans, the villain turns to revenge. Despite Johnny’s bumbling nature and his conceited, high opinion of his espionage skills, including his talent with the ladies, his heart’s in the right place. He wants to serve his country and stop the bad guys. Also, his artificial bravado contains a strong element of courage.
Consequently, JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN has a strong moral, patriotic, anti-totalitarian worldview. That said, the movie has some foul language, including one strong gratuitous profanity. Also, the female Prime Minister likes to relieve her stress by drinking and taking relaxation pills. Her dialogue includes a line to that effect. Finally, in one scene, Johnny accidently takes some energy pills for spies. It turns him into a manic person, which creates some funny slapstick comedy. When the energy wears off, the effect on Johnny is similar to the after-effects of taking amphetamines or drinking lots of coffee. This comical sequence may be seen to endorsing such drug use, but it also serves as sort of a warning about those “energy” drinks that people buy over the counter everywhere these days.
The foul language and pill references in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN warrant caution for older children. Otherwise, however, JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is pretty clean for a live-action comedy these days. It’s rated PG for the foul language, comical action violence and a scene where Johnny loses his pants.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, the third in a series of spy spoofs starring Rowan Atkinson, is the best, funniest one so far. Johnny comes out of retirement when a mysterious computer hacker exposes all the current British spies and Johnny accidentally incapacitates the other retired spies with knockout gas. The hacker has managed to disable other British computer systems. So, the female Prime Minister turns to a super-rich tech wizard from America to take over all the country’s computer systems. When Johnny discovers the tech wizard is the culprit, nobody believes him. Discouraged by his failure, Johnny must rely on his persistence and courage to succeed.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is an hilarious, merry spy spoof. Rowan Atkinson outdoes himself here. Most of the comic bits work really well, even the smaller ones. JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN has a strong moral, patriotic, anti-totalitarian worldview. That said, the movie contains some foul language, including one strong profanity, and some minor objectionable content. Otherwise, JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is a fairly clean PG movie for a broad audience. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.