Vaughn and Golding cross the pond to deliver more of the same.


You would probably need to be living under a rock not to know that “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is the follow-up film to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman’s highly successful 2015 offering “Kingsman: The Secret Service”: a raucous, violent and rude entry into the spy-caper genre. And the sequel is more of the same: why mess with a crowd-pleasing formula?

Into Cambodia, and Eggsy is on another case: or rather another case is on Eggsy.

The fledgling agent Eggsy (Taron Egerton (“Eddie the Eagle“), curiously called “Eggy” at various points in the film for reasons I didn’t understand) is now the new “Galahad” following the demise in the first film of the original, played by Colin Firth (“Magic in the Moonlight“, “Bridget Jones’ Baby“). But just as he’s getting into his stride the whole Kingsman organisation, now headed by Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter”) as Arthur , is ripped apart by an evil drugs cartel called “The Golden Circle” headed by smiling but deadly Poppy (Juliane Moore, “Still Alice”).

Charlie (Edward Holcroft) getting rearmed by Poppy (Julianne Moore).

Eggsy and Lancelot (Mark Strong, “Miss Sloane“) in desperation turn to Statesman – the US equivalent organisation – and together with some surprising allies set out to defeat the evil plot to poison all casual drug users.

Subtle this film certainly is not, featuring brash and absurdly unrealistic action scenes that are 90% CGI but – for me at least – enormous fun to watch. As with the first film (and I’m thinking of the grotesquely violent church scene here) the action moves however from ‘edgy’ to “over-the-top/offensive” at times. The ‘burger scene’ and (particularly) the ‘Glastonbury incident’ are the standout moments for all the wrong reasons. I have a theory about how these *might* have come about…

One Mann’s Movies Showcase Theatre

The scene: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Golding are working “The Golden Circle” script at Goldman’s English home.

Vaughn: “OK, so Eggsy is in the tent with Clara and needs to plant the tracking device on her.”

Goldman’s husband Jonathan Ross sticks his head round the door.

Ross: “Hey Guys, I’ve an idea about that. I was on the phone to Wussell Bwand and we came up with a GWEAT idea.”

Vaughn: (rolling his eyes, mutters to himself): “Oh God, not again…”

Ross: “We thought that Eggsy could use his finger to stick the tracker right up her – ahem – ‘lady canal’ and… and… here’s the really great bit… the camera’s gonna be his finger. A camera up the muff! It’ll be weally weally funny!”

Vaughn: “But Jonathan…”.

Goldman nudges him hard.

Goldman (whispering): “Just let it go Matthew… you know what he’s like if he doesn’t get at least a couple of his ideas into the film”.

You can only hope a stunt vagina was used for this scene, else Poppy Delavigne (older sister of Cara) is going to find it very hard to find credible future work. One can only guess what tasteful interlude is being planned for Kingsman 3 – – a prostate-based tracker perhaps?

Poppy Delavigne, striking a “forward” pose in a Glastonbury tent.

The film works best when the core team of Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and Colin Firth (yes, Colin Firth!) are together. Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water“), Channing Tatum (“Foxcatcher“) and Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”) all turn up as key members of ‘Statesman’ – adding star power but not a lot else – together with Pedro Pascal (“The Great Wall“) as ‘Whiskey’…. who I expected to be someone equally famous behind the moustache but wasn’t!

There’s also a very entertaining cameo from a star (no spoilers from me) whose foul-mouthed tirades I found very funny, and who also has the funniest line in the film (playing off one of the most controversial elements of the first film). It’s fair to say though that others I’ve spoken to didn’t think this appearance fitted the film at all. 

Charlie (Edward Holcroft) getting rearmed by Poppy (Julianne Moore).

Julianne Moore makes for an entertaining – if less than credible – villain, as does Bruce Greenwood (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”) as a barely disguised Trump. None of the motivations of the bad ‘uns however support any scrutiny whatsoever: this is very much a “park your brain at the door” film.

Hanna Alström stars again as the Swedish princess Tilde: helping Eggsy to keep the British end up.

I really shouldn’t enjoy this crass, brash, brainless movie fast-food… and I know many have hated it! But my guilty secret is that I really did like it – one of the best nights of unadulterated escapist fun I’ve had since “Baby Driver”. Classy it’s certainly NOT, but I enjoyed this just as much as the original.

Fad Rating: FFFf.