By: Charlie Lott, Staff Writer
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is exactly what viewers have already come to expect from the budding secret agent franchise. Director Matthew Vaughn’s trademark gratuitous gore, point of view camera angles, and goofy antics pull this the movie through a lackluster plot and make it worth watching.
Debonair Kingsman agent Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back, and this time he’s got to take on the world’s biggest drug cartel without the help of the rest of the organization. When drug kingpin Poppy (Julianne Moore) and failed Kingsman trainee Charlie (Edward Holcroft) blow up every agent’s house from a remote location in a mountain jungle, Eggsy has to join forces with another agency to stop their nefarious plot.
To keep people from dying courtesy of Poppy’s laced narcotics, the American version of Kingsman, Statesman, must step in. Aptly disguised as a whiskey manufacturer in Kentucky, Statesman agents are as rugged and southern as Kingsman agents are proper and British, hitting all kinds of stereotypes right on the nose. Agents Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) tote lassos and shotguns alongside Eggsy’s umbrella and briefcase.
Where the movie might lose a lot of people is the plot. A generic and convoluted scheme loosely based around the war on drugs doesn’t make for a very compelling storyline. The transformation of a hapless Kingsman recruit into the right hand man of an international drug lord is also somewhat farfetched. “Kingsman” doesn’t claim to be a riveting drama; it’s a vehicle for bloody action and comedy, and it serves that purpose well.
That bloody action is like a Quentin Tarantino movie to the extreme. Where Tarantino uses gore to keep his audience on edge and to show the truly evil nature of his characters, the Kingsman franchise uses gore as a sadistic form of comedy. A man throwing his best friend into a meat grinder and then eating a burger made from the resulting patty might not seem funny at first, but in a Kingsman movie it’s sure to register a chuckle.
The other classic feature of the first two Kingsman movies is point-of-view camera angles. When people are spinning, shooting, and fighting, you see it all in slow motion as if you were in the thick of things. This effect makes every scene unique and gripping; as Eggsy hangs by his fingertips from the door of a speeding taxi, the camera zooms from his fingers to the gun pointed at his head to the sparks flying from the underside of the car.
This second installment might take this effect a bit too far when the camera brings viewers literally inside a woman Eggsy must seduce for the good of the mission. Where exactly inside of her does it go? I am afraid manners and school newspaper regulations dictate that I do not say.
This brings me to the final hallmark of the Kingsman movies: just plain goofiness. Elton John roundhouse kicking a gangster in the face while wearing a peacock costume and heels? Check. The president of the United States nonchalantly sentencing millions of drug users to a slow and painful death? Check. A Scotsman singing the West Virginia classic “Country Roads” while standing on an active land mine? Check.
This ensemble of wackiness and hilarity might not seem like it would work together, but it does. Go see “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” just don’t expect a great plot and an all-time favorite movie. Hope for hijinks, action, and Elton John, and you won’t be disappointed.