DVD Review - Johnny English Reborn

Rowan Atkinson returns as the titular character to this sequel to his 2003 comedy Johnny English. Atkinson is the British comedic actor who is best known for the TV series Mr. Bean as well as the subsequent films starting in 1997. Atkinson proved himself brilliant in his physical humor, particularly his facial expressions, which thanks to his genetics, can be totally hilarious, but what's also hilarious is that this movie was released the same year as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Atkinson could be the comedic version of Gary Oldman in his Oscar-nominated espionage movie. It's the same basic story, an old British spy comes out of retirement to flush out a mole within the government.

 Watching this movie reminded me of The Naked Gun (1988). It's the same kind of humor. Johnny English is the Frank Drebin of it all. He's also at times the Homer Simpson of British spies. Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) plays Pamela Thornton, aka Pegasus. She tells him about a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier. English has to team up with junior agent Tucker, played by Daniel Kaluuya, and go to Hong Kong.

While there, we begin what will be a great series of pratfalls and visual gags. I enjoyed them all, aside from the actual assassination attempt at the end. The pratfalls and visual gags though were all good because most, if not all, were done with a good sense of irony as well as a good dose of unlikeliness. One example is a foot chase scene where English doesn't run but walks after the fast-going parkour villain.

It's all just a bunch of silliness. It's not as silly as Austin Powers but it certainly approaches that. Comparatively, it's not as over-the-top, but there are a ton of ridiculous moments. Not all of it had me laughing. The assassination attempt, as I intimated, had me in fact rolling my eyes. Atkinson makes all the rest of it work. He's really good.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for mild action violence and rude humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 42 mins.


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