If you’ve clicked on this article hoping for a clever and hilarious punchline to the above setup or at the very least, some scalding hot, erotic fan fiction featuring said cast, well……..
Could I deliver a raunchy, yet nuanced and introspective tale of companionship between a loud mouthed mercenary, Dylan O’Brien, and some strapping, upper class British men?
Am I leaning too heavily on graphics interchange formatting (the acronym of which is…gif! pick up a book you ignorant mules) to compensate for the fact that I occasionally don’t know how to grab the readers attention with an entertaining and thought-provoking thesis statement?
Nevertheless, your attention is now mine, and I bought myself a sufficient amount of time to formulate coherent (or as coherent as my mind allows) thoughts related to film. Specifically, Action Films. Yes, your English language education has paid off if you noticed the plurality of the previous statement. This is a 3 for 1 action tango…because honestly I didn’t have enough to say about any one of these movies individually so I was preparing to bypass them entirely. And then…
…I saw the pattern.
In the last 2 months, 3 notable Action movies were released: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, “American Assassin”, and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”, in that order. All 3 of which modeled (and riffing on at times) after one of several action movie archetype’s. Kingsman being the only one of the 3 to do so in a refreshing, memorable way. Grab your shovels and lets dig deeper.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a throwback to the buddy action flicks of the 80’s/90’s, carried entirely by the charisma and chemistry of the two leads, in this case, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds (take a moment to swoon if need be). And it worked, but only because it followed the model of the odd couple pairing narrowly surviving a series of mindless shootouts and car chases orchestrated by an over the top ambiguously European villain while trading quips down to the exact number of bullet casings. I enjoyed it for that, and then promptly forgot just about everything that happened, because there was nothing new brought to the table. Solid action film. Will play on FX and/or TNT every other night for the next decade. Moving along…
American Assassin, based off your dad’s favorite airport gift shop novel, on the other hand, takes the grittier Jason Bourne style, action thriller. Dylan O’Brien (Runner of Mazes) plays a scrawny grad student turned scrawny deadly assassin after taking 18 months of MMA classes and target practice at his local gun range (literally, self-taught skills in a year and half so good even the most elite CIA task force can’t hardly conceal their lust for his killing acumen). And again this movie worked using its respective style of shaky cam hand to hand combat and a more serious tone, playing off real national security concerns. And again I enjoyed it for the duration of its running time, then promptly forgot just about everything that happened, because there was nothing new brought to the table. 2 down, 1 to go…
3rd times the red balloon shaped luck charm, right? Since Kingsman: The Golden Circle is our 3rd, yes, 3rd time remains said lucky charm.
Right out da gate, I must acknowledge that the first Kingsman did already establish the franchise’s now unique style of stylized, hyper-violent action in addition to its homages, riff’s, and subversion’s of classic James Bond film tropes. But Kingman’s second outing managed to avoid the pitfall of sequelitis (not to be confused with the nasal infection of the same name) while simultaneously delivering a memorable and very, very fun (left my thesaurus at my beach house; classic) action film by playing up the strengths of the original while also upsetting the status quo, and giving audiences something new.
Let me golden circle back for a second…
*Pause for inconsolable laughter at pun*
…and recap our film.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle picks up with our favorite British spy force as their headquarters is destroyed and the world held hostage by a surprisingly campy and fun Julianne Moore (not her, but her character), leading our last remaining Kingsman, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong; unfortunately not a wizard) to team up with their American counterparts, the Statesmen, to save the world. Its the James Bond of old updated for the modern age. Over-the-top villains and personalities, cartoonish technologies, and a perfect blend of campy-ness and stylized action. Both Kingsman are admittedly absurd movies. But I, along with many of you I know, love these movies. One of the primary reasons being, our lead Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton.
Taron Egerton, carries this film despite the star studded cast of Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Julianne Moore, any of whom could have easily stolen the spotlight (although everyone of them shined in their own right). Taron breathes life into his character with his good looks and cockney charm, but what he does that really grounds this film and gives it an extra dimension beyond witless violence (although even the action in these Kingsman movies are anything but lazy or witless) is the importance of all the relationships he has with the supporting characters. The action is always driven by character and serves their development as well as the plot, and creates emotionally resonant payoffs by the second and third act climaxes.
I loved this movie, possibly even more than the first. Time will be the ultimate judge.
Well this is getting long, so I’ll wrap up.
If you’re looking for an entertaining, albeit, generic 90’s buddy action film, check out The Hitman’s Bodyguard. If you’re looking for an entertaining, albeit, forgettable Bourne copy-cat, check out American Assassin.
Now if you’re looking for a fun, fresh, stylized action film with some laughs and a good bit of heart, go see Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Preferably in a theater. Its a cinematic treat.
And a sincere thank you once again to our director Matthew Vaughn, your films are as majestic and strong as your first name.