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Film Review: Johnny English Reborn

20th October 2011

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Johnny English Reborn, the sequel to the 2003 original joins English (Rowan Atkinson) a few years later with the hapless MI7 agent on a vital mission to save the Chinese premier from a group of international assassins while being framed as a mole. How will he complete his mission?

Johnny EnglishWhere the first was a quality comedy that was worthy of repeated viewings, unfortunately this cannot be said of this sequel. It does have some genuinely funny moments, but most of these can be found in the trailer.

Everything else is pretty much the same as the first film. Rowan Atkinson plays an inadequate agent that gets himself in the most unrealistic of situations, but somehow ends up working it all out and getting with the pretty girl. Hilarious as it was the first time around, it was all a bit too obvious to be anything more than average.

Supposedly a parody of James Bond, this sequel was more like a snippet of scenes from Austin Powers. It even stole one of Austin Power’s key comedy moments when English mistakes somebody’s grandmother for an intruder. This is massively overplayed, with at least least three Grannies (including the Queen) being beaten up and hit over the head with a tray. Over-repetitiveness is never a good thing, and this definitely lost its comedic zest by the end.

Whilst the films performances were all strong, some of the characters don’t really work. Pegasus (Gillian Anderson), who at first seems to be a strong, independent woman – as you would expect from a secret agent – begins to lose her strength throughout the film. When her children run in at a meeting – a slightly unnecessary scene – she becomes detached from the confident agent that we met at the start which, by no fault of Anderson, begins to add to film’s lack of quality.

If you’ve seen the first two series of UK teen-drama Skins, you will understand why Daniel Kaluuya doesn’t really work well in his role. In Skins he plays the role a typical gangster who is outed as a well-spoken English man every time he is heard making one of his “Brap, Brap” references. In Johnny English, he uses this same overly posh accent but sadly it just doesn’t seem genuine. 

Rosamund Pike, as well, plays her role sweetly, but it seems a bit of a downgrade from her other roles as Bond girl Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (Is that supposed to be irony?) and as Jane Bennet in 2005′s Pride and Prejudice. Still, she adds an innocent charm to the film and was someone for Atkinson to cosey up to.

With all things considered, the film seemed more of a spoof than a sequel of a parody. Of course, you can’t beat a bit of Rowan Atkinson, so it wasn’t all bad.


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