Spies and various shadowy government figures are always good for a film treatment. These films generally consist of suave men and women with stylish villains and amazing modern technology. That isn’t quite true when it comes to the film Johnny English Strikes Again.
The digital age leads to modern problems, and when a villain steals the identities of all of Britain’s active undercover agents, the government must look to former agents to find the culprit. Their ultimate choice is none other than a man who once was an agent but now is a schoolteacher, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson).
English is a suave, smooth operator (at least he thinks so), but most importantly he is available, and his identity hasn’t been compromised (well, at least he’s right about that part). English is comfortable living in an analog world — maybe too comfortable — and he is excited to get back into the game.
Alongside his trusted friend and sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), he sets off to help the prime minister (Emma Thompson) find out who has hacked the government. To avoid the omnipresent eyes of the digital attacker, they will need to get off the grid and travel undetected. Gone are the smartphones and GPS-enabled cars; English and Bough are off to save the world one step at a time.
Atkinson has always been a funny man. His Mr. Bean character is known around the world for making us laugh while uttering few words. For Johnny English, Atkinson uses all the silliness of his Bean character with actual words added to the repertoire. He is the perfect person to portray the agent turned teacher turned back to agent.
In fact, the entire cast seems to be enjoying this lighthearted romp, from Thompson’s prime minister to our villain Jason (Jake Lacy) and the mysterious Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko). Subtle, clean humor throughout Johnny English Strikes Again made me laugh, although it wasn’t belly laughs that made me ROFL (roll on the floor laughing, for those in an analog world). I found myself pleasantly surprised with the enjoyment I had.
Johnny English strikes again at my funny bone. Consider me captured by this agent. But I’m not sure if I want him teaching my child. She may not learn science or history or even English. But he can be her teacher any time it comes to being a spy and a person who just loves making people laugh.
Johnny English Strikes Again is available On Demand and on DVD beginning Jan. 22. Check your cable system for availability