Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Hanna Alstrom (Rated MA – 141 min).
The original Kingsman Secret Service action spectacular was a surprise hit in 2014 for unique energy, interesting ideas, and unpredictability. Although it went violently too far, it still remained a tight alternative to the tired spy genre. Sort of reworking the James Bond 007 type antics to an unseen level of theatrics indeed worked.
From the opening moments of this, what I thought was going to be more ambitious sequel, when a pair of barking mechanical dogs appear. My anticipation began to falter along with the rest of the film the more it continued.
When the British headquarters of Kingsman is destroyed, the remaining agents retreat to a safehouse then drink from a random whiskey bottle until somehow discovering they have been summoned to the distillers facility in America. After a weary case of mistaken identity, the duo of Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) discover it’s really just a call to arms from their US counterparts, Statesmen.
No secret, Colin Firth reappears in this second installment after his character was presumed dead in the original (it’s in the trailer). But things are not what they seem when it comes to his state of health.
The evil villainess played to overacting glory by Oscar winner Julianne Moore, lives among what appears to be a remote jungle location. With 1950s decor in a makeshift Main Street town, it’s all about ruling the world by tech savvy and just plain odd plans to conquer the drug industry, politics and any global spy organisations. Moore is only acting how the screenplay suggests but is totally unbelievable in every single scene, not even hammy fun.
Undoubtedly really cool choreographed action scenes are the highlight, including the best sequence in the entire film concerning a cable car high in the sky above snowy mountain tops and an underwater car moment. But really, it’s a mess. Director Matthew Vaughn seems to have gone for style over substance skimming off the reputation of the original which is terrific.
Taron Egerton is a real charmer and talent, everyone else is wasted including underused Halle Berry in a thankless role and Channing Tatum asleep even when he’s awake. Teenage target audiences will no doubt flock to this albeit full of obscure adult-only close up images and colourful language expressed in no uncertain terms. Final word on an extended cameo from Sir Elton John, not only does it leave one bewildered why he agreed to appear in such a role (you will see what I mean) but use of his music is hardly used to the potential it could have with Sharon (the nickname Rod Steward lovingly calls Elton) on board this debacle.
Check it out as an over-produced time filler. No more, no less.
Shane A. Bassett