Blu-ray Review: Johnny English Strikes Again

Rowan Atkinson returns as the beloved, bumbling, accidental secret agent in Johnny English Strikes Again. The third installment in the franchise, and the first since 2011’s Johnny English Strikes Back, our titular hero remains silly as ever, but this time the jokes are predictable, and the laughs infrequent.

Written by William Davies (who also co-wrote the first two Johnny English movies) and directed by David Kerr, the story begins in London. Johnny has been in retirement teaching geography to children…while also secretly training them the art of espionage. Things change when MI7 is hit by an unprecedented cyberattack that reveals the identities of all current agents. The British government is forced to former agents–including English–out of retirement to find out who is behind the attack. Predictably, one comic mishap later, Johnny is left to solve the case on his own, with help from his former assistant Angus Bough (Ben Miller). English is suspicious of modern technology, putting him at odds with the current secret service. The old-fashioned gadgets have been replaced by apps and smartphones, the cool cars replaced with hybrids. It’s in this confusing new world Johnny must crack this case.

The film’s biggest joke–that Johnny is blissfully unaware of just how outdated his way of doing things is, becomes predictable and tired. Atkinson is known for his exaggerated mugging and prattfalls, but his attempts to poke fun at life in the digital era fall short. There’s certainly some humorous moments–when he tries virtual reality for the first time, or when he’s awkwardly stomping about in an actual knight’s suit of armor–but generally it feels like he’s just going through the motions. Rowan Atkinson’s characters Mr. Bean and Johnny English have been clueless, but content figures at odds with real world. Perhaps Atkinson, now 63, is finding it more difficult to find originally in the world of Johnny English.

Despite its obvious shortcomings, Johnny English Strikes Again does offer a few laughs, and an appearance by the always welcome Emma Thompson (Beauty and the Beast) as the hard-drinking Prime Minister. For fans of Rowan Atkinson this is a movie worth checking out, I just wish it were funnier.

Presented in 1080p in the 2:39:1 aspect ratio, Johnny English Strikes Again looks excellent on Blu-ray. Colors are natural vibrant throughout. Detail is superb, whether it’s the slight wrinkles on Atkinson’s face, or the gravel on the streets of London. Contrast is strong with deep blacks and impressive shadow detail.

Universal has provided an immersive in DTS-HD MA 7.1 track that takes you right into the action. Dialogue is crisp, clear, and concise from the center channel. Sound effects are given excellent placement throughout, and there’s some great LFE activity.

English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary with Director David Kerr
  • The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson (HD, 4:58) David Kerr, Ben Miller, and Emma Thompson discuss what it’s like working with Rowan Atkinson.
  • A Cast of Characters (HD, 7:12) A look at the characters surrounding Johnny English in the film.
  • The Johnny English Legacy (HD, 5:06) The cast and crew discuss the three Johnny English films.
  • Virtual Reality Johnny English Style (HD, 4:14) A look at the filming of the Virtual Reality sequence.
  • The Gadgets (HD, 6:08) A look at the less “techie” tech used by Johnny English.
  • The Cars (HD, 5:07) A look at the cars used in the film, and a brief discussion of Rowan Atkinson’s love of cars.
  • Locations and Design (HD, 4:03) The locations used in the film, and its production design.
  • DVD Copy of the film
  • Digital Copy

Movie title: Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)

Director(s): David Kerr

Actor(s): Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Jake Lacy, Ben Miller , Emma Thompson

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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