Kingsman: The Golden Circle

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Edgerton, Juliane Moore, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Pedro Pascal. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Rated MA15+ (Strong violence and sex). 141 min.

This British, action spy-comedy-drama is a sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2014) which is based on the comic book of the same name created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar.

In a continuing spoof of James Bond, the film tells the story of two elite secret organisations trying to defeat threats to world security. Matthew Vaughn directed the original movie, as well as this one, and a third Kingsman movie is being planned.

When “Kingsman: Secret Service” ended, viewers were led to believe that Harry Hart (Colin Firth), senior secret agent for Kingsman, met an unfortunate and untimely end. This sequel reveals that the bullet to Hart didn't do its intended job. With an eye-patch to indicate the marksman’s inaccuracy, Colin Firth is back as Harry Hart, but he is severely amnesic for what has happened.

Harry Hart was the former mentor of a new recruit for Kingsman, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), and in this film Eggsy assumes the role of the main protagonist of the series. Since being recruited, Eggsy has accommodated himself very agreeably to enjoying fancy cars, attractive clothes, and the latest state-of-the-art weaponry. Reality deals Kingsman a cruel blow when its headquarters - situated in trendy Saville Row, London - is completely destroyed by a New World Order organisation, calling itself “The Golden Circle”.

The two surviving UK agents of Kingsman - Eggsy and his current mentor, Merlin (Mark Strong) - pursue The Golden Circle across to the United States. There, they discover that an allied organisation called “Statesman”, which has Harry Hart, has a common goal to Kingsman - namely, to protect the safety of the world. Kingsman’s American Cousins are Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum), Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Agent Champagne (Jeff Bridges), who is the Head of Statesman. The common enemy of Kingsman and Statesman now is The Golden Circle.

Attacks by The Golden Circle, show the calculating hand of a criminal, psychopathic mastermind, Poppy Adams (Juliane Moore) who is a global entrepreneur, and who runs the biggest drug cartel in the world. She is holding holding the world to ransom with virus-infected drugs. Adams ghoulishly exterminates those she does not like with a meat grinder and serves them up as hamburgers to test the loyalty of those on her staff who remain.

In this film, Eggsy and Merlin, joined by Harry Hart, work with the Agents of Statesman to try to find and outwit Poppy Adams. Halle Berry is Ginger Ale, the chief technical support for Statesman, and she is desperate to become an Agent in the field.

This sequel is more disjointed, longer, and more violent than its predecessor. The plot line frequently takes the movie into art-house silliness. Sporadically delivered special effects aim to save the day, and some are impressive - especially, spectacular scenes of a cable car swinging wildly above the snow, and impressive opening and closing sequences. What happens in between, however, is very erratic.

The sequel preserves the rules of the Kingsman series, and the spy-action throughout is energetically frantic. Fierce loyalty, absolute commitment, strong patriotism, and appropriate  appreciation of style are right up front, given the British character of the series, but coherence or plot consistency don't seem to be an issue for Matthew Vaughn, who directs the film.

Now that two secret organisations have a common mission, and there is double the number of Agents involved, the stage seems well set for a third Kingsman film - so long as Senior Agent, Harry Hart continues to stay alive, and direction gets a little more control.

Peter W. Sheehan is Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting

20th Century Fox

Released September 21st., 2017