Review – Johnny English Reborn

Outside of disaster films and more recently horror films, the spy spoof is a well-trodden path. When the world was feeling a little tired from the ‘Austin Powers’ series in 2003, ‘Johnny English’ popped up and we all shrugged our shoulders and gave it a shot. Despite a modest budget of $35 million, ‘Johnny English’ wrangled in over $100 million worldwide. With profits like that, it was easy for a sequel to get the green light and so we have ‘Johnny English Reborn’ – cue shoulder shrug.

Former spy Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is living in hiding after he bungles a security job guarding a political figure. When there is a threat on the life of the Chinese Premier’s life, the only man for the job is English, who is called back into action by the British Intellgence Orangisation MI-7.

In a year dominated by edgy comedies, it’s good to see a film that sticks to the basics. The problem with ‘Johnny English Reborn’, however, is that it plays it too safe – to the point that you expect to find a free life jacket under your seat. The jokes are repetitive and, besides a great set piece involving a helicopter, the rest is quite dull.

Atkinson is a great physical comedian and works his hardest to make the humour work, but it’s an uphill battle throughout. You can’t help but feel that he deserves better. Former ‘X-Files’ geek pinup girl, Gillian Anderson, and one time Bond girl, Rosamund Pike, represent the ladies with class and authority, but are merely there because of their connections to other spy/agent franchises.

If you enjoyed the first ‘Johnny English’ film, there may be a pleasant surprise waiting for you in ‘Johnny English Reborn’. For everyone else, wait until you’re up late at night and come across it flicking through the television channels.


‘Johnny English Reborn’ is now showing in Australian cinemas and is released in the UK on 8 October 2011 and the US on 28 October 2011.

Universal Pictures

The Popcorn Junkie