December 29, 2017
Box Office $100.23 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material.
Stars Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Edward Holcroft, Hanna Alström, Poppy Delevingne, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson, Michael Gambon, Sophie Cookson.
Director Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the follow-up to his 2015 secret agent pastiche Kingsman: The Secret Service, offers a lot of fun action scenes and new characters, but doesn’t leave quite the same impression as its predecessor.
Having graduated to Kingsman agent after saving the world in the last film, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has to team with his organization’s American counterparts, the Statesman, to confront Poppy (Julianne Moore), the mastermind of an international drug empire looking for legalization in exchange for a cure to her tainted narcotics.
The introduction of the Statesman, who operate under the cover of a successful distillery, allows the film not only to touch upon the booze versus hard drugs debate, but also allows Vaughn to engage in his love of Americana. He seems particularly fascinated by Country-Western motifs, given the cowboy influence on the Statesman agents’ fighting styles, references to John Denver music and an abundance of banjo twangs in the soundtrack.
The movie also dials back the meta-humor so abundant in the first movie, in which all the characters seemed fully aware they were in a spy movie. The characters are as over-the-top as they ever were, and Vaughn remains as willing as ever to bend the boundaries of good taste, if not outright blow through them. While the action serves the story well, the movie doesn’t really yield any sequences as transcendent as the first film’s church fight or finale.
The production design is exquisite, from the Statesman’s Kentucky headquarters shaped like a bottle of their signature Whiskey, to Poppy’s remote jungle retreat styled to look like any small American town from the 1950s.
The Blu-ray includes several featurettes that run about two hours in total and offer a really good look behind-the-scenes of the making of the film, with the typically candid Vaughn once again the highlight of the various interviews.