Lets get one thing straight, in the late 70s James Bond may have had an all singing, all dancing Lotus Esprit that drove under water.....but he didn't have a turbo-charged London Taxi that could do the same.....and with much more flair and panache.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a film written by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, directed and co-produced by Vaughan and is a direct sequel to 2015s Kingsman:The Secret Service. The film stars Colin Firth as Harry Hart with Taron Egerton as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, Mark Strong as Merlin , Edward Holcroft as Charlie and Sophie Cookson as Roxy all reprising their roles from the first film. Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are new additions to the cast in the sequel.
After the loss of Harry Hart whilst saving the world in the first film, Eggsy has settled into becoming a full-on Kingsman agent, taking the title of Galahad from his friend and tutor Harry Hart. Eggsy is now living with his girlfriend, the Swedish Princesse Tilde (whom he rescued in the first film).
Charlie Hesketh, a failed Kingsman candidate from the first film shows up and unleashes havoc on Eggsy and the other Kingsman agents .Roxy, (Agent Lancelot), discovers that Charlie is working for a drug cartel known as the Golden Circle, lead by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore).
Eggsy and the remaining Kingsman agents are then forced to link up to their American counterparts, the Statesman. They travel to Kentucky where they meet the Statesman’s leader, Champ (Jeff Bridges), as well as agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry). Eggsy discovers that Harry Hart is still alive, but he isn’t quite the same person that Eggsy knew in the previous film. As Poppy Adams intentions are revealed, the Kingsman and Statesman have to collaborate to save the world from her ghastly plan.
The fight sequences in the film are an astonishing mix of frenetic, fast and furious close ups juxtaposed with slow-motion action sequences. Unlike the church massacre on the first film there is no major focus on any given fight sequence (and sadly no Lynyrd Skynyrd, Freebird outro complementing it). That said, the fight sequence in the taxi is quite spectacular and worth the entrance money alone.....who needs an Aston Martin or Lotus Esprit eh ?
The film's villain Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) is a curious mix of the sickly sweet and hideously psychotic. Moores character exudes an off-beat quirkiness, cheerful with an almost happy-go-lucky exterior and yet is highly brutal and exacting in dealing with anybody that stands in her way.....and it works brilliantly, you will never view meat mincers in quite the same way again.
In contrast to Julianne Moores Character, the Kingsman Agents American counterparts, Tequila, Whisky and Ginger Ale along with Jeff Bridges, Champ are woefully under-developed in the film and seem almost superfluous to the story despite their highly engaging presence when on-screen. This under-development of the characters detracted from the film somewhat which was dissapointing. This may well be the only flaw in the entire film. This flaw is however counter-balanced by a surprisingly funny turn from Elton John, who parodies himself brilliantly and gets rather physical in the film to boot.
All in all this is a very good sequel to an exceptional film that leaves the door wide open for a third instalment. There is a nod to just about every spy film ever made, from the Bond franchise to the Harry Palmer series of films and everything in between. It's not often that you will find a sequel of this quality. As an aside those who drive taxis for a living will notice 2 glaring topographical errors, one near the beginning of the film and one near the end, i won't give them away, let's see if you can spot them.
A very good 4 out of 5 in my opinion.