The Movie: 7/10
Take bumbling Mr. Bean, give him a goofy overinflated ego and some spy gear and a gun, and you have Johnny English; Britain’s greatest spy (James who?) In Johnny English Reborn, the sequel to the under appreciated Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson reprises his role as the bumbling MI7 operative who is returning from a self inflicted exile, where he is in Tibet trying to hone his skills with a group of martial arts monks, before getting a recall to action back in London. We are made aware of the changes to the spy world as MI7 is apparently now owned by Toshiba, and English is forced into action as Vortex, a secret organization who is planning to kill the Chinese president, needs to be thwarted, and only English can do the job.
Johnny English Reborn is a fun little movie which allows Atkinson to use his magic to turn the James Bond spy genre on its ear. The movie is not the greatest spoof ever done, but it is fun and witty, and watching Atkinson and his subtle comedy is just fun, even if the movie can get a bit tedious at points. Atkinson is joined by Gillian Anderson (think Dana Scully) as the head of MI7, who is just as shocked as the rest of us that English is a spy at all, let alone a legendary one.
We get all sorts of references to the James Bond series, as shots of the gadget store and uniquely British cars are used by the superspy, who takes his job as seriously as the original 007. The result is a fun mix of goofy and action, as English blazes his way to save the day. As the extras so eloquently point out, the most redeeming characteristic of Johnny English is the fact that he is good person who tries hard to do the right thing, unlike many of the characters that surround him, and so the audience has a soft spot for the goofy little agent, who can’t seem to get things right, even though things always work out in the end. Johnny English Reborn is just like that, as the movie means well, and while it doesn’t always hit the mark, in the end, things seem to work out just fine.
- Deleted Extended Scenes With Director Intros –There are quite a few deleted scenes here, which are decent overall. There are introductions for all of them, but most are not needed or missed from the final cut of the movie.
- Gag Reel –I liked the gag reel quite a bit. Seeing the flubs from not just Rowan Atkinson but the rest of the crew was pretty funny. Johnny English missing the power switch on several takes had me rolling for some reason, and I can’t really explain why.
- The Wheelchair Chase –In a fun take on the James Bond car chase, the crew here decided to one up it with a chase involving a revved up wheelchair, driven by English himself. The amount of effort and thought that went into this part of the movie is mind blowing, and this extra focuses on the planning and execution of the shot.
- Feature Commentary With Director Oliver Parker & Screenwriter Hamish McColl –I normally don’t love commentaries, but this one was great. Director Oliver Parker and screenwriter Hamish McColl laugh it up throughout this fun commentary that breezes by. There is a good mix of information and laughs here, which is how most commentaries should be in my opinion.
- The English Files: The Making Of Johnny English Reborn –This is your standard behind the scenes, making of feature, that clocks in at around 25 minutes.
- Working With Rowan – Mainly consisting of interview with the cast and crew, we get a strong indication that Rowan Atkinson is a serious man who works hard at his comedy. This is a 4 minute short.
- Gadgets –In this cool little extra, we get a look at the spy gadgets that are used in the movie, and we get a comparison with the Bond gadgets as well as the real life spy gear that is available today.
- English In Hong Kong –A big part of the movie takes place in Hong Kong, and this feature focuses on the scenery and the shots filmed in Hong Kong, that really add to the movie, giving it a bigger feel than its predecessor.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy –We also get a DVD and a digital copy of the movie as extras.
Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
The cover for the movie is classic Rowan Atkinson, looking partly like James Bond, and partly like a buffoon. It is a nice looking spy spoof cover, but the menu is simply brilliant, with English looking sharp with a serious Casino Royale set of slick graphics and music, complete with poker chips and hot babe silhouettes. It is truly a great menu for this type of movie, and even my 6 year old said it looked just like a James Bond movie.
Audio & Video: 7/10
The audio and video are at times great, and at other times bad. The video can be sparkling clear in some assets, but dull and washed out in other scenes. Most of the 1080p AVC encode is great, but some of the scenes just don’t match up to the rest.
As for the audio, the action sequences are great big productions with lots of bass and rear ambient noise, while the rest of the movie tends to be flat, with very little use of the rear speakers. The front speakers are strong and clear for the rest of the movie, but I kind of expected a little bit more, especially considering the production spent on this movie.
You either love Rowan Atkinson’s comedy, or you don’t get is at all. From Mr. Bean on, he is a comedic genius that is both subtle and in your face at the same time. He can make you laugh with a Chaplin-like fall or a simple raise of an eyebrow, and like most English comedy, some get it, and some don’t. This sequel was made 8 years after the first Johnny English, which was huge in Europe, but did not take the US by storm in quite the same way. This one is every bit as good as e first, and in many ways better. The action and variety of backdrops has been kicked into high gear for this movie, and the result is a bigger, more expansive movie.
Johnny English Reborn is a fun movie that will make you laugh, even if you are not a fan of the James Bond movies. Of course, having a love of the new Daniel Craig Bond films can only help you appreciate the effort even more.
Overall Score 7/10