Johnny English Strikes Again

Certificate: PG

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Emma Thompson

Release date: 2018

2 out of 5


Accidental – and accident-prone – secret agent Johnny English (Atkinson) is back in this mildly humorous comedy adventure. It seems that a cyber attack has revealed the identities of all active uncover agents in Britain, so English is called out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker and save the day. However, having spent the past few years working as a teacher in a private school, Johnny isn’t exactly up to speed with modern spy technology as he embarks on the mission with his trusty sidekick Bough (Miller).

As with the previous Johnny English movies, this is never as funny as the genius Barclaycard adverts that Atkinson appeared in as a similarly inept James Bond-style agent back in the 1990s. There are some truly funny bits – the best being a sequence with English causing chaos while wearing a VR headset – but they are few and far between, with most of the scenes in the movie only raising an occasional snigger.

Atkinson is a master at physical comedy, but his skills aren’t put to good enough use here, and equally wasted are Thompson as a vodka-swilling Prime Minister and Kurylenko as a rival spy. There are some nice locations and set pieces, but the plot is too obvious for adults, and while kids will laugh at Johnny’s bumbling antics, the tone is all over the place for a supposedly family film – you have to wonder whether it is aimed at parents and their kids when the first line spoken in the entire movie is ‘Oh, bollocks.’ (Parents may also raise an eyebrow at the numerous close-ups of Kurylenko’s cleavage, including one instance where some subtitles when she’s speaking Russian go right across her chest).

Like Johnny himself, this movie is old-fashioned and just a little out of date – and probably best left to settle into a comfy retirement rather than dragged out for another adventure.

Is Johnny English Strikes Again suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

As mentioned above, the movie does include mild swearing, such as the word bollocks.

Parents of young children should also note that there are a few close ups of Kurylenko’s cleavage and a scene in which there are brief glimpses of a man’s bare buttocks.

There is some mild violence bit it is for comedic effect.

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