Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Remember when Mr. Bean came out in the 80s and every screen on Singapore was playing the show? Maybe it belongs in the stifled memory department, like listening to Vanilla Ice and wearing baggy pants.
Well Rowan Atkinson established a name for himself with his brand of physical humour, though it was mostly unable to translate into success in the celluloid world. One of his moderate successes was the Bond spy spoof Johnny English, which, compared to less PG-rated spy spoofs such as Austin Powers, showed how dated and repetitive Atkinson’s humour had become.
That film was successful enough to warrant a sequel. This time around, English, after receiving training in a Tibetan monastery, is called back to serve MI-7 once more. There’s a conspiracy going on to kill the Chinese premiere by a group called Vortex, and English has to stop them.
Apparently, English was kicked out of Her Majesty’s Secret Service after a foul-up in Mozambique, and now has to prove himself after getting hiknighthood taken. Now Pegasus, played by a still glamorous looking Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame, head of MI-7 (which apparently has been bought by Toshiba), reenlists English to get to the bottom of things.
Helping him out is the new agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), while gorgeous Rosamund Pike plays a behavioural psychiatrist who for some reasons falls for the bumbling English.
Atkinson throws all the weapons in his artillery for the laughs. His rubber-face and body, outright stupidity, mistaken identity, word play, and naturally, slapstick are all thrown into the mix. Still, there’s half a dozen shots of English and his foes getting their crotch kicked, which passes off desperately as humour.
More originally, there’s a deadly Chinese cleaner with a whole bunch of vacuum cleaner gadgets played by Lim Pek-Sen, the actress who portrayed the Chinese communist girl in the British comedy series Mind Your Language.
Alas, much of the humour here appears to have been repackaged from Atkinson’s other work and the constant stream of Bond spoofs over the years, from Top Secret to Get Smart, and there’s very little that’s really new.
If you still laugh at or enjoy Mr. Bean, you might find this second outing of Johnny English to your taste. Just be warned that the gags are about as old as Mr. Atkinson.