Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“MI-7 wants you on the first flight back to London,” so says Ting Wang, mentor to the ex-secret agent Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) who’s been training in the desolate mountains in Asia since being dismissed by her Majesty’s secret service, in the comedy film Johnny English Reborn.
A former CIA intelligence officer claims to have information that he’s only willing to share with English. That’s the one reason why MI-7’s chief, Pegasus (Gillian Anderson), is willing to reinstate English and send him to collect the information. When English meets the contact, Fisher (Richard Schiff), he learns of an assassination team planning on killing the Chinese Premier at a heads of state conference with a secret weapon.
With one shot at redemption and armed with the latest hi-tech gadgets, English sets out to uncover the identities of the three assassins with only one lead: each one was once a member of a government agency (CIA, KGB and even MI-7).
Rowan Atkinson is perfect as the bumbling, inept secret agent English who only survives his missions and fights due to unbelievable luck and the help of his fellow agents. It’s a character reminiscent of Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther films. Gillian Anderson is very effective as Pegasus, the head of MI-7 who can barely tolerate English but has to in order to obtain crucial top secret information to stop an assassination. Some of the funniest scenes are between her and Atkinson.
Johnny English Reborn is a fun action comedy sequel in the spirit of the Austin Powers films and the Get Smart television show. It spoofs the classic spy films, especially the James Bond movies. The film has some very entertaining chase and fight scenes with a running gag of one particular killer who keeps popping up to eliminate English and just misses every time. Unfortunately, some of the jokes and sight gags are obvious and too silly. And due to some of the violence in the fight scenes and crude humor the film is not appropriate for very young children.
In a year of many disappointing and forgettable comedies, Johnny English Reborn does exactly what every comedy should do…makes the audience laugh and smile.
Johnny English Reborn hits theaters on October 21, 2011 and is rated PG for mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality.
More on Johnny English Reborn:
—Trailer, news and cast list