JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (Oliver Parker)
This is a most welcome and much awaited sequel. Rowan Atkinson is among the few comic actors who can turn any material into a must-see (not that JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is an ugly duckling). While the first JOHNNY ENGLISH is laugh out loud funny and wildly inventive, I can safely state that REBORN gave me my money's worth. The story is convincing enough, despite being less British in tone, and I get it because it heavily spoofs the action-packed side of the James Bond films (the first one capitalized on the rest of the elements that made 007 such a brand name).
All of the characters in the first movie are gone and replaced, save for the titular bumbling hero. Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully for you if you are a die hard fan of the X-FILES) is the new Pegasus, which seems fitting because in the later Bond films, a woman played "M" (Judi Dench). I don't know about you, but as a James Bond fan and a Rowan Atkinson fan I pretty enjoyed JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN.
Atkinson, aside from his seemingly witless iconic character, brings in some new gag sketches, including an eye twitching incident every time the word "Mozambique" is brought up, and a farcical take on shaolin. The swivel chair sketch (from the trailer) is most outrageous.
And if the Bond references aren't enough, the filmmakers even had a real bond girl brought in. The sensationally hot Rosamund Pike (who played Miranda Frost in DIE ANOTHER DAY) herein plays behavioral psychologist slash love interest to English.
That Chinese grandma assassin ought to be a classic villain.
And there's even a scene reminiscent of the ending of WHERE EAGLES DARE. Or any other movie involving a mountain fortress and a cable car. But WHERE EAGLES DARE really comes into mind.
In comparison, I think the first one still packed more laughs and had a more solid story, but REBORN is worth watching because of Atkinson alone. And the James Bond references. Admit it. We all need a hero once in a while, especially charismatic, suave and comic ones.