Australian Council on Children and the Media

Johnny English Strikes Again

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Short takes

Not recommended under 10, PG to 12 due to violence, themes and mild coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Johnny English Strikes Again
  • a review of Johnny English Strikes Again completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 September 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended for this age group due to violence and coarse language.
Children aged 10–12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and coarse language.
Children over the age of 12 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Johnny English Strikes Again
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence and coarse language
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the third instalment in the Johnny English spoof comic spy series. Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is a James Bond-like secret agent, who at the start of the film is retired from the secret service and working as an eccentric school teacher. He’s called back into action when Silicon Valley entrepreneur (and secret cyber villain) Jason Volta (Jake Lacey) ‘outs’ the entirety of the British secret service by hacking their server. It quickly transpires that Volta is about to cause an international travesty by turning off the internet! As someone who has chosen to shun all digital technology, Johnny English is the man to save the day, aided by his trusty sidekick Bough (Ben Miller) and Russian secret agent Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko).

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Espionage, cyber-crime, ageism, political incompetence.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

This film has many scenes of slapstick violence, including fighting and shooting, although no one gets fatally shot. Several characters are hit over the head or fall from a height, and in the final scene, Johnny English is shot at whilst wearing a protective suit of armour. There are no gratuitous injuries or graphic fight scenes. Examples include:

  • Johnny English hitting a security guard over the head with a breadboard.
  • Johnny English attacking a baker with two baguette loaves.
  • Johnny English attacking an unsuspecting old lady using karate moves (whilst wearing a virtual reality headset).
  • Johnny English falls off a balcony on a ship, expecting to fall into the ocean, but instead landing on the lower deck.
  • A submarine fires a rocket into a ship, which explodes.
  • Ophelia attempts to garrotte Johnny English as they dance, before Johnny throws her (judo style) and knocks her out.
  • Johnny English fires a rocket of tear gas into a group of French cyclists in order to clear the road.
  • Johnny English throws a tour guide off the top of an open top London bus.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Fast car chases
  • Explosions
  • Fast action scenes
  • Threatening behaviour. For example, Volta points a gun at Johnny English.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children of this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned violent or scary scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children of this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned violent or scary scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children of this age group are unlikely to be scared or disturbed by this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cars by Hyundai, BMW and Aston Martin
  • Apple computers and mobile phones

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The character Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko) is cast as a seductress and is always dressed in tight, revealing evening dresses.
  • Johnny English becomes enamoured by Ophelia, gazing longingly at her.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • None of concern.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Many scenes of adults drinking alcohol, including cocktails and champagne at parties and restaurants.
  • The British Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) orders a “two bottles of wine and some sleeping pills” to get to sleep. Later she orders “vodka tonic: no ice, no tonic”.
  • Johnny English orders a “London lemming, vodka, gin with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese”
  • Johnny English takes some energy pills which lead to an all-night dancing session.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) frequently uses expletives, including: “bollocks”, “Jesus Christ”, “tsunami of tosspots”, “up the universe’s arse”.

In a nutshell

Johnny English Strikes Again is an action-packed spy spoof, with clever slapstick physical humour and many great comic one-liners. Fans of Rowan Atkinson (particularly as Mr. Bean or previous editions of Johnny English) are likely to enjoy the film.

The main messages from this movie are that good will always overcomes bad will and that sometimes the life experience that comes with age has more value than society would like us to believe.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Experience is valuable, even if you are not up to date with modern technology.
  • Persistence pays off.
  • Innovative teachers.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Political incompetence.
  • The dangers of the internet (data sharing, dependency) and of ‘big data’.
  • The consequences of violence.
  • Women’s roles in society.
  • Ageism.
  • International espionage.

 

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