JONNY ENGLISH REBORN
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
It’s been more than ten years since the first “Johnny English” film ripped apart the international box office and flopped in America. You’d think they’d have made another faster. But they waited, and in a way spy movies changed from the turn of the century to eleven years in.
In this sequel, we see the titular character of Johnny English sequestered in a far-away land, dealing with a failure to protect a world leader. He’s brought back into the field to uncover a mole in British Intelligence and thwart more international assassination. Of course, English continues to be the bumbling spy, playing to Rowan Atkinson’s strengths as a physical comedian.
I saw this film in theaters, and it was very cold to me. Revisiting it again on Blu-ray, I found more to like about it, once I settled into the extremely British delivery and flavor. It is still obvious why this fell flat with American audiences but was another worldwide hit. Austin Powers, this is not, and I suppose that’s what most people would have been expecting when they saw it.
Like his Mr. Bean character, Rowan Atkinson manages to be cuddly and abrasive. He stumbles through the film with expert ease. It’s not as overt a comedy as the Mr. Bean movies or Atkinson’s “Black Adder” series. But it works, and it works better in home viewing for me.
I may not have liked it in theaters, but it was fun to watch again on Blu-ray.
The Blu-ray comes bundled with a DVD and Digital Copy of the film. Bonus features include deleted and extended scenes with introductions by director Oliver Parker. There’s also a gag reel and a commentary with the director and screenwriter. A featurette on the wheelchair chase rounds out the multi-disc features.
Blu-ray exclusives include “The English Files,” which are a series of featurettes: “The Making of Johnny English Reborn,” “Working with Rowan,” “Gadgets” and “English in Hong Kong.” Finally, there’s access to pocketBLU and BD-Live.