3 1/2 Stars
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the best sequel that could have been made following the surprise success of the 2015 film Kingsman: The Secret Service. No, it’s not as innovative as the original, but it retains the energetic spirit and mischievous tone of its predecessor, and that makes Kingsman 2 an entertaining action-filled romp. Director Matthew Vaughn has upped the ante in terms of visual tricks and gimmicks, leaving contemporaries like Guy Ritchie and Michael Bay looking lethargic in comparison.
Julianne Moore is Poppy Adams, the head of the world’s largest drug cartel. She is forsaken to hiding in the remote jungles of a South American country but has redecorated the area as a 1950’s style suburban boulevard, complete with a diner and twin-bill movie theater. After an attack on the Kingsman’s headquarters, Eggys (Taron Egerton) and technical guru Merlin (Mark Strong) travel to Kentucky to join their American counterparts in stopping Poppy’s plans. Her nefarious scheme involves tainted recreation drugs that turn the user into zombies. The infected are first seen with a blue rash before a horrendous death ensues. Of course, Eggsy is on the job and with the aid of Agent Whisky (Pedro Pascal), a smooth-talking good ‘old boy with an electrified lasso, the duo must recover the antidote that will save millions of lives.
I was intrigued by the central argument the film makes about the ‘war on drugs’ effort and the debate over recreational drug use. It’s a compelling subtext hidden within a blockbuster overtly designed to appeal to the masses. In a time where James Bond has been drained of the daft cheekiness of the Connery/Moore era, and the fun of the Brosnan flicks; Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a modernized throwback and serves as a reminder of how entertaining this type of story can be told. Aside from a celebrity cameo that feels endless, Kingsman rarely makes a misstep in telling a well-written story.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton