Studio: 20th Century Fox (2 hr. 21 mins)
Plot: When the Kingsman are under siege by a mad drug lord, they must team up with their American cousins to stop her.
Cast: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Elton John, Hanna Alström Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges
Bottom Line: ***
By Khaleel Herbert
The Kingsman get a taste of American patriotism in The Golden Circle, and the results mesh better than the blokes from The Secret Service.
When the Kingsman’s tailor shop and mansion get demolished, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) flee to Kentucky to meet their American cousins, the Statesman, who run a whiskey company.
Tequila (Channing Tatum) shows Eggsy and Merlin some American hospitality with a good ol’ butt-whooping. Before Tequila lights them on fire, Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) says they are official Kingsman.
The culprit behind demolishing the Kingsman’s properties: Poppy (Julianne Moore) a drug lord with a bitter attitude. Despite her success in the drug world, no one knows her name. She also lives in the middle of a jungle, where she has ‘50s-themed buildings like a diner, a salon and bowling alley. Her drugs, aside from the normal side effects, turn people blue until their eyes explode and she wants to infect the whole world. A similar model to the Resident Evil zombie apocalypse.
The Golden Circle beats The Secret Service by a mile. Moore’s performance is diabolical and much crazier than Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine. She’s not a timid lispy geek. She’s willing to throw her disloyal servants into a meat grinder and make hamburgers out of them. She also captured the legendary Elton John (himself). If that’s not wicked, I don’t know what is. The action is more brutal with neck-snapping, baseball grenades, and electric lassos.
However, if you don’t see The Secret Service, the storyline won’t be as clear and references will be made that will go over your head. The biggest issue I had with The Secret Service is the Harry-Potter-Chosen-One technique of Eggsy training to be a Kingsman because his life sucks and his father was a Kingsman–a cliché that is seen in today’s The Dark Tower and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It also mocks the James Bond saga.
The Golden Circle could have cut out 20 minutes and let Halle Berry fight (Anyone remember the first three X-Men movies, Catwoman or Kevin Hart: What Now?). If Matthew Vaughn knows what’s good for him, he should abandon ship on this franchise while he’s ahead. The Kingsman can’t get much better from here.
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This was printed in the October 15 - October 28, 2017 edition.