KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriters: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.
Runtime: 141 mins.
Australian release date: 21 September 2017
Previewed at: Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney, on 14 September 2017.
Following in the footsteps of Matthew Vaughn’s off-beat Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) comes Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In this sequel most of the action takes place across the Atlantic, following a truly spectacular opening car chase through central London with Eggsy (Taron Egerton) being pursued by Charlie (Edward Holcroft), a rejected Kingsman now working for The Golden Circle - a drug-running ring hell-bent on bringing down the secret organisation that protects the world from evil forces. When the nefarious gang succeeds in totally destroying the Kingsman’s HQ and all its agents, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) head off to the USA to seek assistance from an allied secret organisation, the Statesman, whose headquarters are in Kentucky, disguised as a giant distillery.
Sitting at the helm of this truly crazy bunch is Champagne, aka ‘Champ’ (Jeff Bridges), whose team is comprised of cowboy agents with names like Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Tequila (Channing Tatum). Joining forces, this mis-matched crew of Brits and Yanks sets out to destroy the drug group which is headed by Poppy (Julianne Moore), a psychopath who runs her organisation from a camp hidden in the Cambodian jungle. She is determined to return to life in the USA by gaining a pardon for her evil deeds and ending the ‘war on drugs.’ To do this she lethally spikes the dope she sells, offering an antidote only if her terms are met. At this point the script goes into over-drive and action sequences abound. It’s like watching a James Bond film on speed... or acid.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle brings a lot of bang for your buck but somehow fails to carry it off successfully. The stellar cast is quite frankly wasted (no pun intended) as the script goes nowhere; it’s comic but not funny, despite the fact that it’s obviously not to be taken seriously for a moment. A cameo appearance by Elton John adds a rather bizarre element to the film, and the piano man has his moments but his performance is pretty amateurish. Still, it looks as if he had a ball and no doubt his fans will revel in his off-the-wall screen appearance. The film will no doubt do well at the box office as did its predecessor, however, like many sequels, it doesn’t match up to the original and, at around 140 minutes, it’s way too long. If you’re looking for a crazy couple of hours of high-octane, escapist entertainment, then this probably won’t disappoint and Poppy’s lair has to be seen to be believed. You’ll certainly think twice next time you order a hamburger!