‘Johnny English Reborn’ is a reboot indeed

September 24th, 2011 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Johnny English Reborn”; Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West; Director: Oliver Parker; Rating: ***

For every good, there’s bad. For every suavity, there’s the uncouth. And for every swashbuckling James Bond, you have a nutty Johnny English. So, if the Bond franchise can reboot, why not Johnny English? So what if the franchise, prior to this, was only one film old?

After a rather embarrassing episode, suspended MI-7 spy Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) has been hiding in Tibet. However, information about an attempt on the Chinese Premier’s life and no clues about its origin, forces the MI-7 to trace this unconventional spy and bring him back to Her Majesty’s service. But, he is so bogged down by his colossal past failure, the question arises whether he can bring himself together to do the impossible in the present.

Rowan Atkinson reprises the role he first essayed in the 2003 film Johnny English. And he reboots it as well; making this one a much subtler, refined and quirkier version of the first.

Like the first film, this one has many moments, but unlike the first, this one does hold itself together till the end.

There are some really funny moments. The one where English is chasing down a parkour exponent who’s leaping through barriers and jumping over buildings while English uses his ‘wisdom’ to outsmart him, is especially funny. So is the one where he flies a chopper like he is driving a car and another one where he is being chased down by agents in fast car, while he’s riding a wheel chair.

As with most films or series that Atkinson has acted in, the story is like a vessel to comfortably set him up to play his childlike gags. Though cliched as it is, since we all have seen Atkinson deliver the goods in the past, this vessel does hold his gags comfortably together without being cheesy or too unbelievable.

Yet, there’s definitely a lack of originality in the film. Most of the gags are quite familiar and though Atkinson tries to instill a different sense of timing, he does not really get it right enough for the film to go beyond its own limitations.

Despite the film never really taking off, it’s good to watch some good old, trustworthy gags giving you company. Hope Atkinson does more of Johnny English. After all James Bond does need equal and opposite competition.

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