Johnny English Reborn

This sequel starring Rowan Atkinson features tedious jokes and a tired plot.

Director: Oliver Parker

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Dominic West, Rosamund Pike, Gillian Anderson and Daniel Kaluuya


Like the cinematic equivalent of an oven-glove, Atkinson can hand us anything without getting burnt.

Johnny English, his 2003 comedy about a bumbling Bond-like British Secret Service agent, took US$160 million (Dh587.7m) worldwide, despite a total absence of decent gags.

As for this sequel, don't be fooled: the prologue may show Johnny in Tibet, training body and soul to overcome a mishap in Mozambique, but this franchise is "reborn" in title alone.

The director Parker gets to play with a few more toys than the original - helicopters, rocket launchers, etc - but it still feels out of step next to the Bourne movies. Returning to MI7, now run by Anderson's suit, Johnny is sent to Hong Kong to stop the assassination of the Chinese leader, with the help of a rookie agent (Kaluuya) and a behavioural psychologist (Pike).

Lacking the rapid-fire gag quota of, say, The Naked Gun, the comedy just feels laboured, from half-hearted Bond parodies (the golf scene from Goldfinger), to tedious running jokes (the repeated mistaken identity of an elderly female assassin). Only a scene where Johnny larks around in his chair during a meeting is classic Atkinson. At best, Johnny English Reborn is a licence to kill... time.

Published: October 13, 2011 04:00 AM