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Johnny English Reborn – Review (D)

Johnny English Reborn Review
Our Johnny English Reborn Review.
Director: Oliver Parker
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West
Release Date: UK – Out Now / US – 21st October

Rowan Atkinson is one of the best comedians working today. Blessed with both the ability to make literally any word sound funny (Blackadder) and some peerless physical comedy (Mr Bean), Rowan Atkinson is something of a British institution. So perhaps it’s best that Atkinson’s many fans stay the hell away from this one.

Set some years after the first film, Johnny English Reborn begins with Mi7’s most famous agent living a life of shame in the mountains of Tibet amongst a group of monks (ignoring the fact that Tibet is part of China and all the monks have fled to Pakistan.) There he is drafted back for one final mission – a group of the world’s top assassins are conspiring to kill the Chinese premier when he meets the British Prime Minister and only English can prevent it. Or something.

The first Johnny English was just about passable for two reasons. Firstly, because the script called for Atkinson’s incredible physical comedy every five minutes and secondly because Ben Miller’s Bough was a hilarious comedy foil. Imagine, then, the results if neither of those things were present. Actually, you don’t have to – the result is this film.

Johnny English Reborn Review
Johnny English Reborn avoids laughs as though they were landmines, choosing instead to focus on an actual story featuring plot twists, flashbacks and a badly plotted romance between English and his psychiatrist (Rosamund Pike). You can see most of the jokes coming from space, thanks to how well they are all signposted – for instance, English is always wrong about everything except when it’s plot-relevant.

That’s the main problem with these films, though – how can the protagonist be both a bumbling idiot and the world’s best spy? He can’t, that’s how, and the end result is one where English only makes intelligent decisions at contrived points and screws everything up the rest of the time. What’s more bizarre is that the first twenty minutes build up English’s character as some sort of amazing super-spy, before launching him headfirst into a series of scenes where he tackles old ladies to the ground and gets caught short in a Mexican standoff.

There’s a lot wrong with this film and very little right. Kids will probably get a few laughs out of it, but those of us old enough to remember Blackadder will find the majority embarrassing. The assault on the Swiss chalet is probably the film’s highlight – managing to get a few good chuckles – and that’s the climax.

Johnny English Reborn Review
Johnny English Reborn is the sequel you always knew you didn’t want. Stilted, unfunny and painfully disappointing, this is the lowest point of a great comedian’s career.

Our Grade: D

Also See: Three Musketeers Review, Fright Night Review, 30 Minutes Or Less Review

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  • charles mnyenga said

    hey guys whats up?

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  • Thom said

    That’s disappointing to hear. I passed on the first one because it looked so awful but the trailer for this actually had my kids & I chuckling. Looks like I got it the wrong way around?!?

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      I had the same reaction – found the first one too boring to finish, the trailer for this one had me laughing.

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  • Adam Mason said

    The first one had its moments, but everything you saw in the trailer were all the high points of this film.

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