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Johnny English Strikes Again

Opening Date
20 Sep 2018
89 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
David Kerr
Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko, Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much loved accidental secret agent. The new adventure begins when a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, leaving Johnny English as the secret service’s last hope. Called out of retirement, English dives head first into action with the mission to find the mastermind hacker. As a man with few skills and analogue methods, Johnny English must overcome the challenges of modern technology to make this mission a success.
By Jason Lin  20 Sep 2018
English (Rowan Atkinson) showed the audience that an old dog still has some old tricks up its sleeve
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After seven years since the last installment, times have changed as we enter a new digital era of disruptive technologies. Johnny English Strikes Again doesn’t appear to be updated under the helm of David Kerr and instead chooses to rehash simple old tricks.
Apart from its opening premise where the British Secret Intelligence Service MI7 suffered a cyberattack, English (Rowan Atkinson) showed the audience that an old dog still has some old tricks up its sleeve. They also prove to be relevant in a digital age where national security is no longer restricted to physical threats, but also cyber-physical ones.
No smart phones and no GPS – English chose to stay under the digital radar as he adopts everything almost manually. This naturally came with some challenges that also provided Atkinson opportunities to bring laughter. There were a few scenes that obviously pitched the benefits of new technology over the old, such as the car chase scene involving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and an electric BMW where English chased a female Russian spy Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko).
Beyond the paper-thin characters that William Davies’ screenplay produced to deliver unimaginative lines, it also highlighted the importance of understanding technology. How best to poke fun than to have British Prime Minister (played by Emma Thompson) falling for ‘algorithm’ scams by techno-billionaire (Jake Lacy) who pretty much relied heavily on his A.I. virtual assistant to do everything.
Maybe it is just a reminder for authorities to catch up with technology, but perhaps it could be an agenda to strike against the current administration as it undergoes Brexit. Either ways, both eventually didn’t materialise into anything substantial.
This brings the audience to only the comedy that had to be single-handedly performed by Atkinson. While he brings what he does best to this film, English just didn’t have the signature flair that he exuded in the previous two installments. The best (and interestingly stand-alone) scene of Atkinson in the film was the virtual reality practice that English performed across central London without any harm upon him.
Without a strong screenplay and memorable characters such as those played by Gillian Anderson and Rosamund Pike in the previous film, Johnny English Strikes Again might wish to consider a new spin-off as a teacher grooming young future secret service agents.
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