Johnny English Reborn (Film)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am


There's one major problem with Johnny English Reborn: it's not that funny. Maybe it's a case of lost in translation, but the British spy spoof fails to do the one thing it should: make you laugh.

A failed assignment, which costs the life of the President of Mozambique, leads to English (Rowan Atkinson) retiring to a Tibetan monastery, where he's mastering martial arts.

Soon, though, he's needed back home by British intelligence, now headed by Pegasus (Gillian Anderson). She has uncovered a plot to kill the Chinese premier.

English is assigned to look into Vortex, a trio of assassins who each own a key which, when combined, will unleash havoc.

As expected, the movie trots out your usual collection of mistaken identities, gadget mishaps, groin attacks and grannies with guns. The film treads a fine line between mocking and not wanting to offend.

Atkinson is best known for his bungling Mr Bean persona. He plays that part wonderfully. But he does less well as a hapless super spy.

I enjoy Atkinson's visual comedy, and his impeccable timing transfers over to his role as English. But the whole inept-spy-who-ends-up-saving-the-world spoof has been done to death - and certainly done better - in comedies by the likes of Mike Myers and Leslie Nielsen.