Sunday, December 10, 2017
Video review: "Kingsmen: The Golden Circle"
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” was a dashing, original and highly entertaining flick that spoofed the conventions of the spy genre while generally adhering to them. Its much-anticipated sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” is none of those things.
This bewilderingly limp follow-up brings back the same cast and creative team, yet fails to recapture the magic. It’s got too many characters, a non-scary villain and seems too in love with itself to spare any affection for its audience.
You may remember that in the last movie, veteran superspy Galahad (Colin Firth) was killed, shot through the head. This proves only a mild inconvenience, as he’s resurrected in short order, minus one eye and lacking any memories. Though we just know his killer skills are residing there, Bourne-like, underneath the timid exterior.
Galahad protégé Percival (Taron Edgerton) takes center stage, as nearly the entire Kingsmen coterie of spies is wiped out by Poppy (Julianne Moore), who controls the world’s drug trade from her secret headquarters deep in the jungle, which she’s built to resemble her nostalgic middle America childhood. She has a plan to hold the world’s drug addicts hostage unless the governments pay her a massive ransom.
The key new wrinkle, the introduction of an American version of the Kingsmen, turns out to be the film’s biggest disappointment. They’re Statesmen, Kentucky whiskey-brewin’ cowboys in Stetsons – which suggests the British filmmakers can’t distinguish the New South from the Old West. Channing Tatum turns up as their best and brightest, but he’s soon sidelined in favor of a lesser operative (Pedro Pascal). Jeff Bridges chews his dialogue like cud as their top kick.
Director Matthew Vaughn still has the chops for some seriously fancy action scenes, as the camera spins around the combatants like an untethered raven, the action speeding up or slowing down as aesthetics needs be.
Whenever the bullets and blades aren’t flying, though, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a cringe-worthy retread that’s more embarrassing than enjoyable.
Bonus features are pretty decent. The DVD comes with the “Kingsman Archives,” a collection of concept art photos and behind-the scenes stills, plus “Black Cab Chaos: Anatomy of a Killer Case.”
Upgrade to the Blu-ray edition and you add a feature-length making-of documentary film focusing on everything from the Kingsmen and Statesmen’s respective gear, “Suited and Booted,” to visual effects and Elton John’s guest-starring appearance.