Sunday, June 24, 2012

Johnny English Reborn (Oliver Parker, 2011) Review

It took them long enough to make a sequel. I was excited since I like the first one but I was still a bit sceptical since I comedy sequels are generally worse than the first one. It's largely due to them running out of jokes the first time round. Amazingly that didn't happen here! The jokes seem fresh (even better than on the first one) but it's still a parody of the Bond franchise however it's less obvious here. Does it hold up on it's own? Let's find out.

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is hiding out in a remote region in Asia after a mission gone wrong. The problem is, the MI7 need him back for a new mission due to him being the most experienced agent after foiling Pascal Sauvage's plans. In order to gain redemption for his failure on the 'other' mission (the whole reason he was hiding in the first place), English must uncover the conspiracy that is running through the KGB, the CIA and even the MI7. Now with his new sidekick, Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), English must unravel the conspiracy and save England from a new threat. 

This is definitely an expanded sequel. There are loads of new characters that fill in for iconic Bond characters. Pegasus (clearly based on M) is back...sort of. Originally played by Tim Pigott-Smith, turns out Pegasus is just a title, just like M, and is now played by Gillian Anderson. Taking the role of Q is Patch Quartermain (Tim McInnerny) who supplies English with all his gadgets. Considering that Agent One was killed during the events of Johnny English (and by that I mean blown up in the first ten minutes) has been replaced by Simon Ambrose (Dominic West), a typical 'Peter Perfect' character that leads to some great jokes. Lastly is English's love interest Kate Sumner, played by a previous Bond girl from Die Another Day Rosamund Pike.

Johnny English Reborn is just like watching a Bond film, albeit funnier. It takes place in different locations around the world, features car chases (or...wheelchair chase...), a 'Bond girl' and a well crafted villain. It feels like a genuine Bond film (pre-Craig) and is filled with some excellent action moments (and some Bond clich├ęs such as a snow chase ending in a fight with the main villain in a cable car.

Johnny English Reborn actually manages to do something that no other parody has done: beat it's source material. What do I mean? It out-bonds Bond...specifically Craig's bond films. Don't get me wrong, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace are great films but as Bond films...they just don't hold up to the classics like  The Spy Who Loved Me or From Russia With Love. Johnny English Reborn feels like a classic Bond film and it's a great experience.

Feels like a proper Bond film at times...even out-bonds Bond! An escalated sequel if ever I did see one.

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