Johnny English, the character, has certainly come a long way since his days as a Barclaycard TV advert. His first film outing did reasonably well (and indeed I chortled along watching it many years ago), and now he’s back in a Batman Begins-inspired story that sees him attempting to thwart assassins planning to kill the Chinese premier.
Johnny English Reborn is, and foremost, a very silly film. It is absolutely over-the-top, ludicrous and insane. Possibly even immature. But that’s its charm. 007, to me, has always been absolutely ridiculous. That guy always succeeds despite the enemy having superior technology and endless numbers of henchmen. James Bond is a contradiction wrapped up in an enigma and sold as a king-sized burger and fries meal for the audience.
And the writers of Johnny English know that well enough.
Rowan Atkinson is terrific as English, who is required to stretch his limbs and facial features through many sequences of silliness, that one is afraid he may suddenly spontaneously combust from overuse! Physicalities aside, Atkinson performs the role just as well as Daniel Craig – presenting an air of superiority and one-upedness as Britain’s (incompetent) super-spy.
Gillian Anderson is also great as this film’s equivalent of M, and Daniel Kaluuya as the fresh faced Agent Tucker who as we all know, is the real brains behind English and Tucker’s partnership. English’s love interest comes in the form of the beautiful Rosamund Pike who plays Kate – and I couldn’t not help but think of my boss (who is also a Kate and also looks stunningly like Rosamund Pike) – MI7′s psychologist, who helps English to overcome his problems in Mozambique.
The film’s soundtrack by the ever excellent Ilan Eshkeri (who came to my attention through Stardust’s OST) sets the mood magnificently. A surreal script and good direction helps English along nicely. Well paced, good silly jokes, and some decent enough VFX makes Johnny English Reborn a decent film. I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I liked this film.