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David Kerr
Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Ben Miller
Writing Credits:
William Davies

After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English is forced to come out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend:
$1,638,895 on 544 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS X
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 1/22/2019

• Audio Commentary with Director David Kerr
• “The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson” Featurette
• “A Cast of Characters” Featurette
• “The Johnny English Legacy” Featurette
• “Virtual Reality Johnny English Style” Featurette
• “The Gadgets” Featurette
• "The Cars” Featurette
• “Locations and Design” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Johnny English Strikes Again [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 13, 2019)

15 years after the franchise debuted, 2018 brought Johnny English Strikes Again, the third film in the series. Once a British special agent, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) now resides in retirement.

This status changes when a threat arises. After a cyber attack unveils the identities of all Britain’s undercover operatives, MI7 pulls English out of mothballs to confront this menace.

I never saw the first two English films, mainly because they looked pretty lousy. I felt the Austin Powers movies already provided a fun comedy take on the secret agent, so I didn’t suspect the series would offer much real entertainment. Throw in lousy reviews and I ignored the prior entries.

Given the fact it also got poor critical notices, what led me to give Again a look? Universal offered me a copy, so I figured I’d give it a go despite my reservations.

As it turns out, my initial apprehensions proved correct. Tired, stale and witless, Strikes Again lacked much to entertain.

In the US, Atkinson probably remains best-known as the voice of Zasu in 1994’s megahit The Lion King. He also gained decent success with the “Mr. Bean” series/movies, though that franchise remained more successful in Britain than in the US.

That appears true for the English films, as none of the three found much of an audience inside the States. For instance, Again made $158 million worldwide, but barely $4 million of that total came in the US.

Perhaps this will smack of American chauvinism, but if Again represents the rest of the series, I think we’re right about the English franchise. One bad, predictable comedic sequence after another, the movie goes nowhere.

As noted, I didn’t see any of the prior English flicks, but I suspect whatever potential the characters boasted got used up a long time ago. Again churns out a series of lousy scenarios and lacks even a single laugh.

Though the film largely attempts to spoof the James Bond flicks, it often feels more in the Pink Panther vein. English seems like a British version of the bumbling yet comically effective agent.

While talented in his own right, Atkinson lacks the malleable qualities of Peter Sellers, and that holds back the character’s potential. As depicted, he seems more idiotic and annoying than amusing, and Atkinson fails to find hilarity in his role’s antics.

It doesn’t help that so much of the tale feels stale. We can see virtually every “joke” from a mile away, and none of them come with any twists to add cleverness.

This means all the punchlines and slapstick shenanigans land with a thud. Even at a mere 89 minutes, Strikes Again feels long, as it can’t muster any entertainment value.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Johnny English Strikes Again appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the film came with a pretty good transfer.

Sharpness worked fine, with only a smidgen of softness on display during the occasional wide shot. This meant the end result appeared largely accurate and distinctive.

I witnessed no signs of jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes also failed to appear. Print flaws never impacted the presentation.

Unsurprisingly, the movie went with a palette that emphasized orange and teal, but these hues never took on overwhelming tendencies. The image threw out a smattering of other hues as well and the tones looked well-rendered within the stylistic choices.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed acceptable, though they could appear a bit dense during nighttime shots. While I didn’t think this was a great image, it looked fine overall.

Downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1, the film’s DTS X track didn’t take great advantage of the sonic possibilities. Despite the film’s action side, it tended toward more of a “comedy mix”, one that lacked a great deal of flair.

This didn’t make the soundtrack poor, of course. It just didn’t show the involvement and pizzazz one might expect from the format.

Much of the mix focused on music and atmosphere, with only the occasional scene with more dynamic use of the various channels. A few action scenes brought out nice movement and activity, but these popped up sporadically.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that appeared natural and distinctive. Music seemed full and rich as well.

Though not as prominent a feature as I might like, effects still appeared accurate and impactful, with pretty good low-end along for the ride. This turned into a “B” soundtrack.

When we move to extras, we go with an audio commentary from director David Kerr. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music, editing and cut scenes, sets and locations, cars and props, effects, stunts, and connected domains.

Overall, Kerr provides a reasonably informative chat. He does tend to narrate the movie more often than I’d like, but he still delivers a nice array of notes and makes this a brisk, engaging piece most of the time.

Seven featurettes follow, and The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson fills four minutes, 58 seconds with notes from Kerr and actors Ben Miller, Emma Thompson, Rowan Atkinson and Olga Kurylenko

As expected, “Genius” looks at Atkinson’s talent and performance style. Also as expected, the show tends toward praise more than insight.

We spotlight actors with A Cast of Characters. It runs seven minutes, 12 seconds and features Kerr, Atkinson, Thompson, Miller, Kurylenko, producer Tim Bevan, screenwriter William Davies and actor Jake Lacy.

Like the title implies, this program discusses cast, characters and performances. It follows the same path of “Genius” to focus on happy talk more than substance.

We take a look back at the franchise via The Johnny English Legacy. It goes for five minutes, six seconds and includes Miller, Bevan, Atkinson, Kerr, Davies and producer Chris Clark.

“Legacy” looks at the entire franchise and offers thoughts about its style and challenges. It becomes another fairly fluffy show.

Next comes Virtual Reality Johnny English Style, a four-minute, 14-second reel with Kerr, Miller, Atkinson and stunt coordinator Paul Herbert.

As one assumes from the title, this reel investigates the movie’s “virtual reality” sequence. It offers a decent look at the creative choices and the technical challenges.

In The Gadgets, we locate a six-minute, eight-second show with Kerr, Thompson, Atkinson, Miller, Clark, Kurylenko, Davies, Herbert and production designer Simon Bowles. This piece brings some thoughts about props, but not much of real interest emerges.

The Cars lasts five minutes, seven seconds and provides material from Atkinson, Kerr, Miller, Herbert and Kurylenko. We get some notes about vehicles and driving. It’s another mediocre featurette.

Finally, Locations and Design takes up four minutes, three seconds with statements from Kerr, Bowles, and Miller. This show offers a fairly decent take on the topics listed in the title.

The disc opens with ads for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and House With the Clock in Its Walls. No trailer for Strikes Again appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

If one expects a clever, witty spoof of the secret agent genre, one won’t find it with Johnny English Strikes Again. Sluggish, stupid and laugh-free, the movie becomes a tiresome experience. The Blu-ray comes with fairly positive picture and audio as well as largely superficial supplements. Strikes Again fails to live up to even the most modest of expectations.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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