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Johnny English Fails To Strike Back

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The infamous Brexit and its consequent aftereffects are all hilariously exploitable subject for satire. In this era, yet another Johnny English series tries hard to parody the James Bond spy series but fails miserably. The English action-comedy spoof franchise started back in 2003 with Johnny English and was reincarnated back to life in 2011 with Johnny English Reborn.  And yet again the new export crisis paved way for its comeback- to mock its own doltish financial stratagem. While banks may have run dry, pastures only greened for lampoons that had long awaited witlessness from the administrative corner. While it could have seized resourceful intuition from the political mayhem, Johnny English Strikes Back only furthered Brexit’s inanity.

The film in no way supports the comic genius of the seasoned Atkinson. There was an audience of devotees who were ready to laugh-out-loud at the sight of their beloved Mr. Bean. But, even the most inventive gags failed them badly. Johnny English does not simply traverse into a new genre; in fact, it simply draws cues from the most classic theme. Austin Powers, OSS 117, Naked Gun- these were all the flicks that occupied the same concept and successfully deft and detailed period parodies. Despite coming from such an old-school source material, the film was not able to hold up to the quaint of classics.

There is a strong dash of Mr. Bean in the drab scenario. But the humor is limited to the veteran’s physical hilarity- which has grown considerably old with age. In an unfortunate sequence of events, a cyber-hacker has broken into Britain’s super-secret web network of spies. And much to the dismay of the agent on duty, he is revealing the name of secretive British agents on duty. Playing the special agent is Kevin Eldon, whose cameo is regrettably small.

To salvage her dreaded image over her doltish political notions, Teresa May- whom Emma Thompson played marvelously despite being badly written- has to summon retired agent to solve the crisis. As the identity of all the present ones is now at stake. Johnny English, who is occupied delivering seriously hilarious lessons to students as a schoolmaster walks into his old suite again upon being summoned.

What follows is a Batman and Robin of getting things wrong.  Ben Biller as Bough yet again comes to assist English in the execution of his pledge to Her Majesty. Vicki Pepperdine goes wasted in this reluctant comedy as Bough’s wife. The film also stars Olga Kurylenko’s beautiful femme fatale Ophelia Bulova. Jake Lacey plays spoilsport as the tech-wiz-evil-boss Jason Wolta, who claims he can rescue Britain from its thick murk of computer woes.

There are a few moments where we do give it into laughter. When English is given virtual reality training of tracing the villain’s lair, he forgets to remove his VR headgear before breaking loose into the streets of London.  In farcical jinks, he battles virtual villains who appear on his headset in bakeries and bookstores. And those points are ridiculously funny. When Bough narrates his seemingly docile wife’s career as a badass British Navy commander operating nuclear submarines, English’s reaction is priceless. However, these are basically the one of the only whacky instances in this not so whacky journey.

As they set fire at a restaurant in the guise of waiters or smuggle themselves aboard on Volta’s luxury yacht, there is a palpable sense of the droll being pitched for kids. Things get amiable and boisterous very less often. Even the funny scenes are pretty mediocre and performances less often revert to the golden Bean days. The film industry needs to respect Rowan Atkinson’s genius and talent, and ought to give him a role that does him justice.

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