JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is Standard Atkinson that Kids will Love

Mr John Black Rowan Bean English Adder Atkinson just won’t go away, or age it appears. He has a formulaic approach to comedy that to some is timeless and to others is annoying as hell. It is cheesy humour that in all reality should be dated as all get out. But his movies make money and kids LOVE him. So it was with luck we sent our childlike reviewer, Kernel Blake, to review Atkinson’s next instalment in the JOHNNY ENGLISH franchise. JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN releases this Thursday Sept 20th in Australia from Universal Pictures. It is rated PG and runs for 88mins. Enjoy Blake’s thoughts……..all the best………Salty.


Pitched as a more family-friendly, British take on THE NAKED GUN series, Johnny English has found a successful enough formula of slapstick comedy to justify a film trilogy. This third instalment, JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, sees rubber faced, comedy legend, Rowan Atkinson return as the titular bumbling spy, for more hijinks and goofy shenanigans. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen any of the films in this series, prior to the premiere of this third film and the cinema was chock full of kids.


JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson image
Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson



When a cyber attack on British spy service MI7 reveals the identities of all UK secret agents around the world, the British PM (Emma Thompson) is forced to reinstate former spies to track down the culprit. Among those is ex-agent Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson), now a geography teacher who spends his days in a posh boarding school secretly teaching his students in the ways of covert operations.

When a group of other ex-agents, played by legendary actors Charles Dance and Michael Gambon, are taken out of action, the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of English. With the MI7 now a hotbed of technology and OH&S guidelines, Johnny English takes a more analogue, old school approach, favouring a gas guzzling Aston Martin over a standard issue hybrid and a simple pistol over more high-tech gadgets.

Bumbling his way around the south of France on the trail of the cyber hacker, with his trusty sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), English crosses paths with the beautifully Bond-named Russian, Ophelia Bulletova (Olga Kurylenko) who may or may not be a Russian spy. Who am I kidding, she totally is and, like most things in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, this is telegraphed blatantly.


Rowan Atkinson


JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is as inoffensive as a movie can be.


Back in England, more cyber attacks are bringing the country to its knees. The desperate PM enlists the help of Silicon Valley genius and Zuckerberg-alike Jason (Jake Lacy) who promises to undo the damage form these attacks with his company’s computer software and may or may not be the bad guy. Who am I kidding, he totally is and again, like most things in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, this is telegraphed blatantly.

In the end though the plot, if you can call it that, doesn’t really matter as JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is an excuse for Atkinson to get up to his old tricks and slapstick his way through every scene he’s in, bringing an affable charm and roguish arrogance to his role as the spy who thinks he’s more Bond than bumbling idiot. It’s also fitting that he takes a more 60s spy approach to his role, as that’s about the era most of the jokes in this film originated.

That’s not to say JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES BACK isn’t funny, it certainly has some scenes that made me laugh, a virtual reality tour of an estate that goes horribly wrong and a dance sequence quite literally on speed definitely created plenty of chuckles from myself and especially the large amount of younger kids in the audience.


JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN Olga Kurylenko and Rowan Atkinson image
Olga Kurylenko as Ophelia and Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English star in JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, a Focus Features release.



Atkinson is in his element as English, using everything he’s created over the years, combining the bumbling, elasticity of Mr Bean with the cocky, smarmy arrogance of Blackadder. You can’t help but laugh as Johnny English manages to get through each situation unscathed as his sheer idiocy causes havoc around him.

Kurylenko gives her all as Russian undercover agent Bulletova, playing off her character from the Bond film QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but does get under used as the film continues on, fading into the background role of eye candy. Emma Thompson seems to be having a blast as the beleaguered British PM, while Ben Miller as English’s sidekick has some fun scenes as the straight man to Atkinson’s buffoon.


Rowan Atkinson



JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN obviously knows what its audience wants, skewing more towards the younger viewers with plenty of slapstick and telegraphed jokes, that the kids I saw it with were loving. Older audiences will get the odd laugh here and there, but overall this is a film with gags you’ve seen and heard before with a story so cliched you know what’s going to happen about 10mins in.

Sure, you’ll forget about it the moment the credits start rolling, but JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is as inoffensive as a movie can be. An easy watch on a rainy afternoon if it pops up on the TV, with enough silly humour to make the running time pass by relatively painlessly.





Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.