Friday, 22 September 2017

Kingsman : The Golden Circle.

One of my favourite film scenes of 2014 depicted a well dressed English gent using guns, knives, flag poles and axes to single handedly decimate a religious hate group akin to the Westboro Baptist church. It was hilariously violent and totally exhilarating. It was without a doubt the highlight of the film it featured in, Kingsman : The Secret Service. It was so good that everything else in the film paled in comparison. Nothing in it's sequel, Kingsman : The Golden Circle can even hold a candle to that scene either. But that doesn't mean there isn't fun to be had.

Eggsy is now a fully fledged member of the Kingsman group of secret agents. Life is good. He's in a steady relationship (that will annoy the people who hated the first film). Work is going well. He's putting everything he learned in training to good use. Until.......ah there's always an until.

If you hated the first, don't bother with this. Nothing in it will change your mind. If you found the first to be a bit of fun nonsense then you should enjoy this. 

It starts brilliantly, with a blazing car chase through the streets of London. Fun, loud and exciting. Then it dies on its arse for the bones of 45 mins with a lull that tries in vain to prop itself up with an influx of star faces. Thankfully the last third of the film regains its sense of fun but it never really recovers from that middle segment.

When the film works it really works. The strength of the first was its sense of absurdity and that's still a strength here. People in three pieces suits leaping through the air pulling off perfect headshots. Robotic dogs. People burgers. Electric lassos capable of dismemberment. Explosive aftershave. A flying kick to the face from a musical icon, who by the way is hilarious. Ridiculous baddie lairs. Insane plans for world domination. Seeing the good guys mow down everyone to the sounds of 70's classics never gets old. Plus it gets in a couple of pops at the moron currently leading the western world. 

As with all sequels, everything is bigger. The action, explosions, the story, the knives ^, the locations and unfortunately the running time. Nearly 2 and a half hours. Ridiculous. A lot could have been trimmed here. It's seriously self indulgent in places. The whole middle section is bogged down with unnecessary exposition to try and give the story a depth it doesn't deserve. The much vaunted new characters are wasted. Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridge's roles are basically glorified cameos. A scene at a music festival will drive the people who hated the first film crazy too. It's weird and it feels like it was put in there purely to court controversy.

Julianne Moore as the big bad is not good in this. In fact she's pretty awful. It's disappointing because she's was always reliable. The aforementioned 3 other big names are totally wasted especially Berry. Pedro Pascal though is good fun. Brings the charm he used to great effect in Narcos and Game Of Thrones. Taron Egerton and Mark Strong are solid too, slipping back into their roles with ease. Strong gets more to do here and has a great John Denver moment.

The law of dimishing returns certainly applies here. It's a sequel with all the good and bad points of a sequel. But there's still entertainment to be had. If you can hack that running time that is. 

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