Following on from Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) , the initiative is attacked and made to go underground by the crazed leader of a multi-billion dollar drug cartel (called, you guessed it, ‘The Golden Circle’). Survivors Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) enact the ‘Doomsday Protocol’, which leads them to their American equivalent, the imaginatively named ‘Statesman’. If this sounds to you like a lazy sequel set-up, that’s because it is a lazy sequel set-up.
The Golden Circle attains one impressive distinction. It rounded up this cast, and managed not to elicit a single decent performance. Look, I love Julianne Moore; but, she is wasted as the comic villain in this humourless drivel. Taron Egerton is as charmless as last time. Mark Strong gives it a good try but scripts this bad weigh down all efforts of amelioration. We know Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are fine comic actors, but the film allows them nothing. (Oh, and Colin Firth is back, because why commit to storytelling when you can use a deus ex machina ?)
Formally, it’s appalling. Films like these get made for their bravura sequences, but the editing and the camera movements are so gimmicky and badly-framed that it’s impossible to feel anything other than tedium. Also, there is a comic overabundance of gradual zooms, which emphasises that not a frame in this tiresome film is of any substance. One of these zooms is used in a reprehensible scene involving the planting of a tracking-device on the main henchman’s girlfriend. Now, ask yourself: where will the tracker be planted? If your answer was anywhere but her genitalia, then you’re far more mature than the filmmakers. Yes, her violation is played as entertainment. Why? Because this film’s chauvinism is illimitable.
The film critic Gene Siskel (of Siskel and Ebert) warned us all that bad films steal two hours out of our lives, and we are never going to get those hours back. Well, the crass and vapid Kingsman: The Golden Circle stole two hours and twenty-one minutes of mine, and I’m quite furious about it.
Image: Gage Skidmore