I don’t watch a lot of comedies, but I am willing to make an exception for Rowan Atkinson. There probably isn’t a soul who isn’t familiar with Mr. Bean. Atkinson’s non-verbal acting skills are simply amazing. However, he has to rely on more than that to play a secret agent. Is this follow-up to the “so, so” 2003 Johnny English, any good?
The movie starts off with humorous scenes of Johnny English in a Tibetan Monastery, followed by his re-entry into MI7. He’s assigned the mission of uncovering an assassination attempt on the Chinese head of state, and has to reluctantly accept the presence of a sidekick. From there the film kicks into high gear, with numerous parodies of cliché moments in more serious action and spy films. This never gets old thanks to Atkinson, who is often doing something totally inappropriate in the background of a “serious scene”.
British director Oliver Parker isn’t known for box office hits, but does a decent job here. The unbelievable plot isn’t really a distraction, as most of the movie leans on Atkinson’s scene-to-scene performance and his sidekick excellently portrayed Daniel Kaluuya. However, not everyone acts very well: although Gillian Anderson, of X-Files fame, is billed as one of the top cast she gives a surprisingly poor and plastic performance.
This movie is certainly no gem, and people have likely become accustomed to better performances from Atkinson. However, all in all Johnny English Reborn offers good value. It’s better than the original Johnny English and good as a light “popcorn” movie. If you’re into that, or a die hard fan of Rowan Atkinson, you should go see this movie.