Starring: Tarron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Elton John, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson
The long list of stars preceding this review should give you a clue as to what this sequel to 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service is all about. It wants to be bigger, louder and longer than what came before it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it better.
Picking up where the 2015 film left off, we find Eggsy (Tarron Egerton), enjoying domestic bliss with his fiancé Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden (Hanna Alstrom) while taking the name of his late mentor, Galahad (Colin Firth) who was shot in the head at the end of the previous film.
But that calm is shattered early and often as Eggsy’s former fellow Kingsman trainee-turned-bad-guy Charlie (Edward Holcroft) shows up with a bionic arm and a bad attitude and off we go with the first of what seems to be an endless succession of chase or fight scenes that, despite their technical brilliance, ultimately accomplish nothing.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around one Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) who, ensconced deep in a jungle somewhere in Central America, has become the world’s most powerful narcotics dealer, trading under the name of The Golden Circle. Moore plays Poppy as a grinning pseudo Stepford wife who has spiked her narcotics with a deadly toxin. She then plans to force the US to make drugs legal, by withholding the antidote, therefore possibly killing millions of people.
This plot makes little to no sense, but no matter, the film continues at its breakneck pace, throwing in another fight scene just when you start to think about how ridiculous the premise is.
Oh, I forgot, Poppy kills off the entire Kingman crew save Eggsy and his trainer Merlin (Mark Strong), which provides an excuse to introduce the American version of the group known as The Statesmen who are led by Jeff Bridges, known as Champagne. There’s also Pedro Pascal (Whisky), Halle Berry (Ginger Ale and Channing Tatum as Tequila.
And for those who thought they saw the last of Colin Firth’s character…think again. It seems the technical wizards within The Kingsman developed some kind of super-secret medical thingy to “cure” head shots. So the original Galahad returns.
While this medical marvel may solve the problem of how to keep Colin Firth in the franchise, it causes an even bigger issue. Now that we know that pretty much anyone can be resuscitated no matter what their injuries, it renders all those intense fight scenes meaningless. Nothing is at stake…there are no consequences.
With the film clocking in at 2hours and 20 minutes, this makes things even more tedious.
There were a few bright spots.
For some unexplained reason, the villainous Poppy Adams has taken Elton John hostage, and his performance as a profanity-spitting version of himself is hilarious. The other bright spot is Julianne Moore’s own performance. Its good fun to watch such an accomplished actor chew up the scenery with such delight.
But, most of the star-studded cast is wasted, and when the dust finally settles and the good guys finally prevail, nothing of any consequence has happened, except for the passing of two and a half hours of your life.