MOVIE REVIEW: Pulse-pounding scenes and eerily familiar themes maketh “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Right from the opening scene of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, director Matthew Vaughn wastes no time in getting the audience right into the thick of the action.

The protagonist, slacker-turned-spy Eggsy Unwin, predictably escapes his first life-threatening encounter in the film, a high-speed slobberknocker-slash-car-chase slathered with the kind of ridiculously impractical gadgets and physics-violating moves one would expect from a movie based on a Mark Millar property.

From there, the film rapidly escalates, ending the first act with an utterly explosive (for lack of a better word) series of events and taking our hero on an intercontinental quest for answers and reinforcements.

Fans of the first film will be blown away by what happens to the characters they’ve come to know and love. Meanwhile, viewers who enjoy comics-based action films in the same vein as Wanted and Kick-Ass are in for an absolute treat.

With The Golden Circle, you get exactly what you paid for: two hours of expletives, explosions, and gore, infused with punchlines and sex references. Additionally, the new players in this film — Statesman, the alcohol-adoring American answer to Eggsy’s Arthurian super-spy society — are as inoffensively stereotypical as they could get. If you enjoy over-the-top action comedy films, this is one you wouldn’t want to miss.

There’s not much else to say about The Golden Circle as a film, mainly because it doesn’t exactly break any new ground, nor does it try to. In fact, this assessment of The Golden Circle could end here, with this very paragraph.

However, it won’t, because the crux of the film is eerily reminiscent of a real-world issue — one that is particularly relevant in Philippine society today.

Eerie parallels

Films like The Golden Circle succeed because they serve their purpose as escapist fiction quite well. They take us away from the real world and pull us into theirs, capturing our attention for the better part of two hours.

Thus, when the film pulls back the curtain to reveal its central ethical dilemma — “Do recreational drug users deserve a shot at redemption, or do they just deserve to be shot?” — no Pinoy viewer could be faulted for feeling a sense of deja vu.

Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman drafted the script for The Golden Circle in 2015, which makes this a rather curious instance of synchronicity. There are, of course, significant differences between the specifics of The Golden Circle’s war on drugs and our own. Chalk it up to cultural differences, perhaps, or the fact that in 2015, no one could have foretold the state of Philippine politics two years into the future.

The core argument, however, remains the same. If you had the means of identifying drug users and the opportunity to end their lives, should you? Can genocide really solve the problem of drug addiction — and, more importantly, should it?

The Golden Circle never really goes beyond an ideologically lightweight (but nevertheless straightforward) manner of arguing in favor of one side. And really, it doesn’t have to, since no one goes to see a film like this for intellectual discourse.

Instead, The Golden Circle relies on your own moral compass — on your basic sense of human decency — to make you side with the good guys.

After all, manners maketh man.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (from 20th Century Fox; rated R-13) opens in theaters September 20, 2017.

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