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07/11/18

JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (Movie Review)



Sometimes older is better: art. Wine. Spies.

Granted, not everyone would agree with that last entry. Secret agents need a certain amount of agility to thwack evildoers in the craw and a full head of hair to convince femme fatales not to be quite so … fatale. Certainly one needs to be up on the latest spy-related gizmos: One can't get much mileage out of an exploding snuff box today.

And indeed, the 21st century has brought about its share of contemporary challenges for would-be spies. These days, clandestine conflicts aren't waged with weaponized shoes or acid-shooting fountain pens, but in the binary realm of ones and zeros. Technology rules the modern roost, and those who don't understand it are liable to get kicked out of the coop.

Take Great Britain, for instance. In this new world, jolly old England is feeling distinctly less jolly, unquestionably more old. Oh, the country has its share of Wi-Fi hotspots, of course, but the government's tech-dependent services keep getting hacked. And that's a problem: All the traffic lights turn red at the same time and stay that way. All the empire's trains are rerouted to a sleepy little stop up north. And worse yet, the identities of all its secret agents have been compromised.

What's a prime minister to do? Britain's current leader decides she needs to attack the problem from two fronts.

First, she hopes to gussy up the empire's laggard tech with help from Jason Xander, a strapping young digital guru who promises the world to countries that sign on with him. (It's a metaphorical promise, by the way. Promising countries the world in a literal fashion seems like just asking for problems.) And just a little of Jason's vaunted technical expertise could be the key to making Britain Great again.

Second, the prime minister wants the hacking culprit or culprits stopped. Alas, given the decided lack of secrecy for the island nation's secret agents at present, the PM lacks the manpower to launch such a covert investigation.

No problem: Just yank an old agent out of retirement, shall we? But the only one able and upright enough to answer the call (like, literally, upright—the rest are all sleeping) is English. Johnny English.

Suave (or so he thinks).

Dangerous (but not in the way he'd like).

And, of course, he carries a license to trip.

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