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film review: johnny english reborn

Johnny English Reborn, directed by Oliver Pakrer, is the third instalment in a brilliant set of movies starring Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, Love Actually) as the well known, but helpless British spy named Johnny English.

After being discharged from MI7 for an incident many years earlier, Johnny English hides himself away in the Tibetan mountains, living with monks and learning how to fully fight and embrace the world around him. He is called back to London to assist with a rumour about assassins trying to murder the Chinese Premier. What follows is a series of hilarious misunderstandings, mistakes and misinterpretations that leave the audience cringing, laughing and covering their faces in embarrassment for the actors.

It was wonderful to see another addition to this wonderful set of movies that many have enjoyed over the past few decades. With appearances from old characters such as Bough (Ben Miller, Primeval, Razzle Dazzle), old admirers of Johnny English are sure to get a blast from the past.

Catastrophe after catastrophe brings the winces that we all know and love from many of the films that Rowan Atkinson stars in. In this particular film though, Johnny is much better at his job than before, having gained sage wisdom in his age. Although this doesn’t deter him from screwing things up as he usually does. Johnny English has been reborn with all the old strings attached. These include his ineptness with women, his oblivious ignorance to the obvious, his constant mistakes on the job, and his ability to annoy his bosses to the point of infuriation.

As in many fight scenes that you see in other spy films, there’s a lot of glitz and glamour and a lot of wild chases and exploding cars. But in Johnny English Reborn however, Parker has made the fights more logical. During a fight scene, while his opponent will be jumping over gates and climbing down buildings, Johnny English will take the door on the gate; or rather than climbing down the side of a building, he takes the elevator. These logical solutions make the situations even more hilarious – there is one opponent climbing down a twenty story building, and then there is English waiting patiently for the elevator to meet him on the top floor.

As usual there’s the pretty girl that English infatuates himself with. This time it’s Kate Summer (played by Rosamund Pike from Pride and Prejudice, Die Another Day). She’s MI7’s psychiatrist who seems to be fascinated with all of Johnny’s screw-ups. Johnny desperately tries to impress her but constantly fails, making himself look like an even bigger idiot.

Johnny English Reborn is an enjoyable edition to the Johnny English series and will leave many viewers wondering (and hoping) if there will be another addition in the making very soon.

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