Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

  • Time: 141 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Cast: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore


When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy…


  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle makes no bones about its intentions to be a bigger, louder, more frenetic, and even more absurd sequel to the giddy delight that was Kingsman: The Secret Service. Its opening sequence – a nighttime car chase through the streets of London featuring closed-quarters combat, prosthetic limbs, bladed shoes, and more Tokyo drift than in the Fast and Furious installment of the same name – is emblematic of the film’s go-for-broke, no-holds-barred, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and how you react to this aural and visual assault will determine your enjoyment of the rest of the film. Either you’ll find it pointlessly preposterous overkill or you’ll be adrenalised by director Matthew Vaughn’s unabashed pleasure in wowing his viewers.

    The story, secondary as it is, takes place soon after the events of the first film. Working-class boy Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has settled into his role as Bond Jr. for spy organisation Kingsman and as boyfriend to Tilde (Hanna Alström), the Swedish princess he rescued at the end of the previous film, though he still deeply misses mentor and father figure Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who took a bullet to the head. Naturally, trouble comes knocking in the form of Charlie (Edward Holcroft), a former Kingsman trainee who literally lost his head in the previous film’s finale of exploding heads but who is very much alive and sporting a bionic arm (Charlie will not be the only presumed-dead character resurrected for the sequel). Charlie has a new boss, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), unacknowledged head of the world’s largest drug cartel, who immediately shows off her deadly side by launching geo-targeted missiles which wipe out all members of the Kingsman save for Eggsy (who was meeting Tilde’s parents at their palace) and Mark Strong’s Merlin, who was too lowly to have his address included in the hacked database of super agents.

    The situation leads the two survivors to Kentucky, where they discover the existence of Statesman, Kingsman’s American counterpart, who use a whisky distillery as their cover. There we’re introduced to Statesman head Champagne (Jeff Bridges), bad boy Tequila (Channing Tatum), tech support Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), and the lasso-brandishing Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). The Kingsmen and Statesmen must work together to save the world from Poppy, who has laced all of her drugs with a toxin that causes its users to develop a blue rash, which is a prelude to the mania, paralysis and horrible death to come. Poppy offers to release the antidote to the President of the United States (Bruce Greenwood) provided he legalise drugs.

    Perhaps the best thing about The Golden Circle is the creation of Poppy herself, who is essentially a perky Fifties housewife as ruthless sociopath. Moore is never less than chirpy, but she deploys that cheerfulness to chilling effect. Poppy has no compunction throwing disloyal henchmen into a meat grinder and serving them as hamburger meat to inductees, or kidnapping Elton John (yes, the Elton John, whom Vaughn manages to exploit as even more of a visual gag) to function as her own in-house entertainer. Even better is her recreating a 50’s-era town in the jungles of Cambodia, which allows Vaughn to stage scenes in gleaming diners, beauty salons and bowling alleys that are populated with human and robotic henchmen as well as Poppy’s ever-faithful killer robot dogs, Bennie and Jet. Whatever one thinks of the bloat that does creep into the film, Poppy and Poppy Land are worth the the price of admission.

    One definitely get one’s money’s worth with The Golden Circle for Vaughn’s inexhaustible bag of tricks. In addition to the whiz-bang car chase that opens the film, there’s an action sequence on the Italian mountains that’s a manic nod to both On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as well as Spectre, a barroom brawl featuring Whiskey’s prowess with a lasso, and the finale that is almost seizure-inducing in its fervid flamboyance.

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  • (RATING: ☆☆ out of 5 )

    GRADE: C-


    IN BRIEF: It’s the time between the violent action scenes that cannot fight the boredom and inanity of a most stupid plot.

    SYNOPSIS: A British spy tries to stop world domination and joins forces with his American counterparts.

    RUNNING TIME: 2 hrs., 21 mins.

    The rising body count and messy carnage is the only thing that is remotely dramatic in this sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, an over-the-top spy circus. Everything about this action thriller wants to be cool, laid-back, and suave. But this hipster’s remake of the 2015 highly profitable forerunner isn’t. Bereft of humor and wit, the film is a non-stop assault on your senses and your patience.

    The stunts are still eye-popping, and Matthew Vaughn knows his way around directing an action flick. But the story makes little sense and never follows any logic…how else do you explain previously dead characters reanimated and sporting a license to kill and a great wardrobe. Just as before, the graphic violence upends the fun.

    Back with us is Eggsy (Taron Egerton), now renamed Galahad, and an active member of the Kingsmen, a secret society of agents. He and his league of gentlemen must stop a drug lord curiously named Poppy (Julianne Moore) from destroying the inner sanctum and systemically infecting the world population with a virus. Soon Eggsy and his cohort Merlin (Mark Strong) are off to America to rally some Allied forces from Dixie. Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Pedro Pascal play these roles. Even Colin Firth surprisingly returns, after being killed in the first film, and Sir Elton John makes an appearance.

    All the relentless action cannot hide that old boys’ club entitlement mentality and the misogynistic attitude that seemed to hearken back to the 60’s era that are at work in the screenplay by Jane Goldman and the director which never rises above a leer. Granted the action sequences are well staged, very Guy Ritchie stylized movement, with its use of slo-mo and quick edited cuts to emphasize the kinetic effect, but the lull of a plot between the adrenaline rush of the fight scenes grows tedious and unintentionally laughable. The tone of the film jumps wildly from serious espionage thriller to spy spoof, as if the director cannot decide which genre he wants to do.

    The prestigious cast is less than serviceable. Academy Award winners like Ms. Berry and Mr. Bridges are totally wasted. Ms. Moore gives a truly awful performance (the first of which I never thought possible from this gifted performer). Mr. Tatum’s role is basically a walk-on. Mr. Pascal does carry that Burt Reynolds 70’s swagger well and Mr. Strong and Colin Firth reprise their roles with a touch of class and have a nice rapport with Mr. Egerton. And Elton John is an embarrassment, looking foolish and losing any shred of dignity. Why he would choose to participate in this goofy venture boggles the mind!

    But its the lazy storytelling, as the plot becomes more and more absurd, that dooms the movie. It resembles a poor man’s version of a bad James Bond movie…the Roger Moore smirky variety, or more like those 60’s trashy and sexist Matt Helm series starring Dean Martin, at their worse. The film constantly trades in class for crass.

    Kingsman: The Golden Circle keeps running in circles. It’s fool’s gold and nothing more.

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