Derek Winnert


This article was written on 23 Sep 2017, and is filled under Uncategorized.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle ** (2017, Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Elton John, Pedro Pascal) – Movie Review

Co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn’s exhausting sequel to his 2014 hit Kingsman: The Secret Service struggles to come up with fresh helpings of spy silliness in a barrel-scraping CGI fest. Yes it is slick and action packed, and there are some good scenes, clever ideas and funny lines, but overall it is not really very exciting and not much fun.

First of all it is way too long at 141 minutes, and starts to hit dull and drecky patches after half an hour or so, roughly the time it relocates from London to America. The Kingsman headquarters are blown up, the world is held to ransom, and the survivors discover an allied spy organisation in America called Statesman.

Second, it is way too much like a Seventies Bond movie, with its smug, sneery and superior ironic tones getting in the way of taking anything seriously, either the story, or the characters or the action. It is very silly, and it tries to disguise that by its veneer of sweary nastiness and a couple of controversial moments.

The tone and action and language may be adult, but it is still a junior James Bond movie, with its hero a pint-sized teen agent. So, you’re left with a rather lame, nasty-toned spy comedy, a place we’ve been to so often it would be hard to recommend paying to go there again.

Third, it suffers from sequelitis. It can’t top the original, it can just repeat the formula, and hope importing some classy actors and chucking money at the screen will freshen things up somehow.

Fourth, the new ‘story’ is just a p*** take, so we can’t really get involved in it or excited by it. It’s just a game of larky laughs, with diminishing returns. Vaughn writes with Jane Goldman. I get it, it is hard to come up with new Brit spy ideas.

Fifth, the first Kingsman has already fully explored the relationship between working class hero Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and his posh gentleman mentor Harry (Colin Firth) and taken it as far as it can go. This reprise of it seems rather weary and a bit tiresome. However, the Egerton-Firth double act is still most of the best of what’s on offer here. They are both quite perky and pleasing.

Mark Strong reprises his truly appalling ‘Scottish’ accent as the Q-type character Merlin. This very good and normally very effective actor is defected by trying to play Merlin. It is a no-good performance, which is unfortunate as there is a lot of it. However, Edward Holcroft’s Kingsman reject Charlie, gone over to the dark side as the villainess’s henchman, is a hit turn, one of the few.

All of the Swedish royalty stuff involving Hanna Alström as Eggsy’s love interest Princess Tilde and Björn Granath as the King of Sweden is drossy sitcom-style nonsense. It could all happily go. The Glastonbury stuff involving Poppy Delevingne as sex siren Clara could happily be cut too. It gets a bit Carry On Spying here.

Arguably, the one hit turn among the guest stars comes from Julianne Moore as the special villainess Poppy, who has the US President in her pocket in her mission to take over the world by controlling the supply of drugs. If she is thwarted, she plans to kill millions of people through poisoned illegal drugs.

Other than Firth, Moore is the one Oscar winner here whose class shows. She has a lot to do, and it’s all on the same level, but she pitches it precisely. It’s always the sign of a good villain when you regret their demise, and Moore pulls that off.

On the film’s debit side are the rest of the American team – Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum and Halle Berry. Tatum’s turn is baffling, Bridges’s is dull. None of them is much good at all. Pedro Pascal’s lasso-wielding villain Whiskey is no fun either, and nor is Bruce Greenwood‘s US President or Emily Watson’s Chief of Staff. All of them give hesitant, ham-fisted performances.

But nobody, nobody is quite as bad as Elton John, who is an embarrassment as Elton John. Dear Elton, please don’t go breaking my heart like this.

Towards the end, it picks up a bit of pace and power, and then finally it’s over. There’s a threat of more Kingsman movies at the end, as we are told this film is just, maybe, the end of the beginning. I like stories that have an end, and the shorter, sharper and sooner the better.

On 22 September 2017, officials in Rome confirmed that Colin Firth holds dual English and Italian nationality in order to have the same passports as his Italian wife Livia Giuggioli and two sons Luca, 16, and Matteo, 13. The Italian Interior Ministry said: ‘The very famous actor, who won an Oscar for the film The King’s Speech, is married to a citizen from our country and has often declared his love for our land.’ Italy is one of the few European countries that allows dual nationality.

© Derek Winnert 2017 Movie Review

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