Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle review and the rules for action sequels.

Following the success of the spy movie Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) is the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. And like any action sequel there are rules, at least for big budget sequels. Yeah, this is inspired by the rules from Scream 2. (1997)

Rule 1. Bigger action set pieces. Come on you got more money because of the first one. It's a franchise. Rule 2. More carnage. That means more dead bodies. Rule 3. Bigger explosions. See Rule 1. Rule 4. Big dramatic plot surprises. Yeah, everybody wants to make The Empire Strikes Back. Rule 5. Give the audience more of what they saw in the first one. But what about creativity? You want art, go to The Louvre. We're trying to make a boatload of money from our franchise.

In The Kingsman; The Golden Circle, super drug dealer Poppy (Julianne Moore) destroys The Kingsman headquarters. She's this crazy nostalgia freak for the fifties, and the sixties. And her Cambodian jungle headquarters shows it. There's an old fashioned bowling alley, and yes it could be a nod to The Big Lebowski. After all Jeff Bridges is in this movie. At the center is Poppy's headquarters which is fifties hamburger diner complete with robot dogs and a gigantic meat grinder for turning your human enemies into meat patties. She's also captured Elton John who has some very funny moments. Anyway, she's got a plan. Since she supplies most of the world's drugs, she's decided to spike the supply with a poison and blackmail the world since she has the antidote.

Kingsman Eggsy aka Galahad (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) must seek out help. They are directed to Kentucky where the Statesman are headquartered. The Statesman are American version of the Kingsman. They're led by Champagne aka Champ aka as The Dude. (Jeff Bridges) Um... okay, he's not known as The Dude. But come on, there's Julianne Moore here and bowling. They find Harry Hart still alive. (Colin Firth). Hart was shot in the head by Samuel L. Jackson in the last film. Halle Berry is here as the American version of Merlin or Q. But she's given very little to do. Hold on. Berry, Bridges, Moore and Firth. A law firm? No. But these four actors have Oscars. Whoa. Bet you a dollar, nobody is going to get an Oscar for this movie.

Director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman have made a screenplay that follows the rules of action sequels. It's got bigger action, there's more carnage, bigger explosions, big dramatic plot surprises, and it gives the audience the same stuff from the last movie. Action and comedy. So what's not to like? Well, too much of a good thing may not be a good thing. The movie is bloated. For example, Poppy grinds a henchman into ground... well, ground henchmen and then cooks the um... said beef and makes a burger out of it. She then feeds it to another henchmen. You guys are trying to turn us into vegetarians. And then the way they bring back Harry is kind of ridiculous. The Statesmen have nano technology to repair head shots. Really? How about just having him shot as glancing flesh wound? And if you thought the first one was campy, this one seems to get its inspiration from the sixties Batman TV show. There was also no need for the demise of some of the characters. Guys, you're not making The Godfather II here.

Director Vaughn certainly knows how to frame and set up the action set pieces. He relies less on editing and more on slow motion tracking shots. It makes sense and there is less confusion. There's some good comedy here and some cringe worthy comic material. The later stages of the poison causes people to dance. As Steve Martin would say, "Comedy is not pretty." I will say this. Elton John's last sentence is one of the funniest lines in cinema this year.

Kinsman: The Golden Circle is fun. But it's like eating ice cream too fast. You'll get a headache. The grade is B.

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