By JUDE SALAM
With the release of Johnny English Strikes Again on October 26, 2018, the Working Title Films production studio delivers yet another addition to the Johnny English franchise, starring the iconic Rowan Atkinson. There is certainly an element of nostalgia in this movie, as many people may see Rowan Atkinson’s character not as Johnny English, but as Mr. Bean. In the series, Atkinson plays an experienced, but oblivious member of British Intelligence named Johnny English. Agent Angus Bough (Ben Miller) serves as English’s partner, acting as the professional counterpart to English’s absurd antics. The film is directed by David Kerr, and just like its predecessors, the screenplay was written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and William Davies.
The plot begins with a massive influx of cyberattacks on British Central Intelligence, with the first revealing the identities of all active undercover agents in Britain. English had been forced into retirement and serves as a geography teacher, schooling his students in the tricks of the spy industry. As a result, he is the only one unaffected by the attack and is called out of retirement to investigate the case. Emma Thompson plays the flustered, power-hungry British Prime Minister, skeptical of English and under an overwhelming amount of stress as a result of the attacks. Both her worry about the attacks and skepticism of English’s skills leads her to hire Silicon Valley tech billionaire Jason Volta. Volta promises to implement a system that would improve data management and protection services. However, Agent English continues his investigation and finds the culprit, leading to a twist that reveals Volta’s true intentions of gaining control over the G12 countries’ data.
This film provides many moments that are recognizable to viewers of all ages in its simplistic, yet hilarious style of humor. However, many critics adamantly concluded that the sequel did not meet up to the standard of comedy set by its predecessors. Although all of the movies in the franchise seemed to conform to the classic, slapstick style of comedy, most reluctantly agree that this movie particularly lacked the witty British humor so evident in the previous installments. The predictive nature of jokes was overshadowed by its well-timed nature executed by the talented comedic actors.
Overall, watching the movie was an enjoyable time, recommendable to families looking for a comical yet family friendly movie experience. However the movie received a quite negative critical reception, seeing a rather disheartening 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.6/10 on IMDb. Interestingly enough, the film garnered much praise from the general viewing community, with a reported 94% of Google Users as well as a 64% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes expressing their appreciation of the film