THE title of this perfunctory second sequel in the inexplicably successful semi-Bond spoof franchise feels more like a threat than a promise of more genuine laughs, if there were many in the first place.

Yes, the bumbling British secret agent is back yet again to clown his way through another national crisis. This time an expert hacker has been messing around with Britain’s infrastructure, eventually revealing the identities of all MI7’s active agents. Cue Rowan Atkinson’s titular blundering agent being brought back into active duty from his time spent as a geography teacher who has not-so-secretly been passing on tricks of the trade to his eager class.

English and his loyal right-hand man Bough (Ben Miller, returning after being marked absent for the second outing) are given a mission to investigate cyber-attacks that leads them to cross paths with enigmatic Russian spy Ophelia Bulletova (Olga Kurylenko).

Meanwhile, an increasingly exasperated Prime Minister (Emma Thompson, comfortably the best thing in the film as she quietly lampoons Theresa May’s public persona) tries to deal with the issue by enlisting the help of obviously shady Silicon Valley billionaire tech genius Jason Volta (Jake Lacy).

Atkinson remains one of the country’s greatest clowning performers and if anyone could make this shtick work, it would be him. More than the series has ever done this one sees him slip back into his Mr Bean mannerisms, although much of those moments feel like they would have ended up on that cutting room floor.

It musters up some giggles when it veers off into extended set-pieces adrift from the numbing central plot; a sequence in which English ventures out on to the streets of London believing he is in a virtual reality simulation is an effective comedic spark among a sea of pratfall-reliant beats weirdly staged like action sequences that consequently suck the comedic air out of the room. The jokes fall awkwardly between being aimed at kids and at adults, while failing to work for either. Just who the heck this is supposed to be for is genuinely puzzling and it makes you wonder if the only reason for its existence is to capitalise on the fact that we’ve got another Bond film round the corner.

It feels content to pound outdated, one-note jokes about gadgetry mishaps and the like into the ground without any deadpan wit to back up its tomfoolery. Almost everything feels so obviously staged and tired with punchlines so easy to see coming that you could practically tick them off a checklist. You come away with the feeling it’s time to retire this character for good.