Reantimator takes a look at the new spy comedy sequel with Rowan Atkinson - returning to his bumbling, James Bond-esque role originally seen (under the name Richard Latham) in a bunch of Barclaycard ads that started in the late 80's. Will this be better than the original Johnny English?
Having been meditating and training at the local Shaolin Temple for the past few years, after a terrible - nay, eye-twitchingly terrible - incident in Mozambique, Johnny English returns to spy work to thwart an attempt on the Chinese Premier's life. That is basically it in a nutshell...the usual spy bumf!
The weird thing with this movie is that it's totally and utterly unoriginal in every way. The premise of having a spoof on the spy genre has been done to death a million times before. Many of the set ups, sight-gags and action sequences have also done the rounds of umpteen different projects. Like-minded stuff from the Carry On films, Ace Ventura, Monty Python and shades of other Rowan Atkinson characters (Blackadder, Mr. Bean) are, alomost shamelessly, regurgetated for entertainment purposes in this film.
'Why weird?', I hear you ask.
It's weird because I found it funnier than a funny thing on a string and it entertained me 100%. It totally worked for me on almost every level. It was funny, the casting is terrific - Dominic West (The Wire), Gillian Anderson (The X Files, Bleak House), Daniel Kaluuya (Psychoville) and Tim McInnerny (Blackadder, Severance) are all top-notch - and it really captures the feel of the very sort of thing it lampoons. You could almost swear that it was directed by Terence Young or Guy Hamilton (directors of Bond classics Dr No and Goldfingerrespectively), and not Oliver Parker - the director for this one.
Again, originality has left the building completely, and the plot's the usual kinda stuff, but it's so much fun watching the people who are supposed to play it straight - play it straight, and the people hamming it up - TOTALLY hamming it up that this gets two huge thumbs up from me any day of the week.
A more than worthy follow up - go see it!
Johnny English: Reborn is out in UK now and in the US on October 21st.