Thrice is not charming
The movie falls flat, despite earnest intentions
Seven years is a long time between sequels. Even if it is Johnny English. The bumbling spy is back this time with the third part of the trilogy. Like the previous two offerings, Rowan Atkinson puts up an sincere performance. And that is pretty much it.
The retired spy is now a teacher, who prefers to teach his students the art of espionage than geography at a posh school on the countryside. So in class it’s all about exploding pens, camouflage and zip lines. This sub plot, we thought, would have made for a funnier movie than the one we just saw. Cyber attacks on British intelligence has compromised all agents of MI7 and English is brought in to nab the perpetrator. An analog spy in digital world, this agent is all about explosive jellybeans and vintage cars. All leads point to billionaire Jason Volta (Jake Lacy) and English and his Man Friday (Ben Miller) travel across Europe to expose the criminal. Bond girl Olga Kurylenko plays a Russian spy who is out with the same mission. There are moments of sheer brilliance, but these are few to come by. Meanwhile, the British Prime minister, played by Emma Thompson, seeks Volta’s help to solve the crisis. Then English literally becomes a ‘knight in shining armour’ and saves the day.
Apart from Atkinson’s face-pulling antics and his characteristic exaggerated style, there is nothing new to look forward to. In all honesty, the franchise that was intended as a spoof on the suave spy James Bond, hardly made a lasting impression on viewer minds. Emma Thompson is wasted as the PM and Jake Lacy (a rip off on Elon Musk) and Olga Kurylenko are pretty much wallflowers. It is an Atkinson movie through and through. The plot is hazy and does not give room for development. The makers should realize the after a point, there is only so much one can do. Johnny English seems to have have run its course, and it’s time to call it a day.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN
Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Emma Thompson, Olga Kurylenko, Jake Lacy, Miranda Hennessy, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Adam James
Director: David Kerr
Screenwriter: William Davies