If you enjoyed the hyper-intense action, crude humor, offbeat villains, dapper heroes, and frenetic energy of the 2014 spy-comedy-action thriller “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” well, the sequel serves up more of the same.
Based on a comic book by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, “Kingsman” is about a top-secret British spy organization where everyone has cool-but-deadly toys and dresses impeccably. The film opens with a blistering fight/chase scene as our hero, Agent Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton), gets ambushed outside Kingsman headquarters.
Eggsy — and the whole Kingsman organization — has become the target of this episode’s outlandish villain, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). Poppy is a drug kingpin who runs her secret criminal enterprise, The Golden Circle, from a hidden stronghold in Cambodia.
When Poppy wrecks havoc on the Kingsman operation, Eggsy and Merlin (a.k.a. the guy behind the computer, played by Mark Strong) are forced to flee to the U.S., where they hook up with their American counterpart — The Statesman. Operating out of a distillery in Kentucky, the group is led by Champagne, a.k.a. Champ (Jeff Bridges). Champ’s crew is made up of whip-wielding Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), gun-toting Tequila (Channing Tatum), and Ginger Ale (a.k.a. the gal behind the computer, played by Halle Berry).
Also hanging out at Statesman headquarters, much to Eggsy’s and Merlin’s surprise, is Kingsman supreme Harry Hart (Colin Firth) — presumably shot dead in the first film. Harry is suffering amnesia since being shot in the face, so Eggsy will have to wake up his mentor before they can team up and take down Poppy.
Directed once again by Matthew Vaughn, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is ridiculous and over the top in every way — just like its predecessor. Yes, it’s not as fresh the second time around but the movie still manages to pull off more surprises than most of today’s films. The action sequences are impressive and the actors are charming.
Once again the film’s main weakness is its villain — Moore is just as absurd as Samuel L. Jackson was in the first film — and not always in a good way. Batman villains in the Adam West days were more subtle. I suppose that’s the point but it is hard to take threats seriously when they come from such whimsically weird characters.
Some people will complain about the movie’s 2.5 hour running time, but for a change I am not among them. It really didn’t feel like that long a movie when I was watching it and usually I’m ready for a film to be over at the 90 minute mark.