Kingsman: The Golden Circle
When Poppy, a (proper) mental villainess who plots to kill millions from her jungle-based, 50’s diner-lair, destroys the Kingsman HQ, it’s up to Burberry-clad superspy Eggsy and the Kingman’s American counterparts to save the world. Matthew Vaughan returns to the helm, this time giving everything a good shake rather than a firm stir, as the most outlandish elements of the original – admittedly a love letter to the traditional spy caper – are cranked right up. With the Bond films now more serious – at least tonally – there’s something refreshing in seeing an inspired franchise move in another direction – perhaps backwards – by owning the silliness. That said, expect cyborg waitresses, robot dogs and a very real Elton John. An explosive and ridiculous outing with some sick – sorry, slick – action pieces, The Golden Circle does what it says on the can, and is ultimately closer to Austin Powers than it is Bond. Who knows, maybe Mike Myers will show up in the threequel. Now that would be groovy.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges
When terrorist gunmen storm a beach in Ibiza, dozens are brutally killed – including Mitch’s fiancé. In the year that follows, a dishevelled and haunted Mitch has turned his body into a weapon, and is already infiltrating terrorist cells by way of reaching the man responsible for the Ibiza killings. But before Mitch is able to take revenge, he’s hijacked by the CIA, who show a keen interest in his reckless yet efficient ability to kill bad guys. He is thrust into a mission involving an AWOL nuke that sees him working under the command of war veteran Stan Hurley (the same annoyingly-aggressive Keaton we’ve seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Birdman), while the film we’re promised in both the trailer and the opening five minutes is gone. Mildly entertaining and far more satisfying than the Taken sequels at best, American Assassin should have probably stuck to its original mission.
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch
When five students at a prestigious medical school begin unorthodox and unsanctioned experiments that involve killing one another and resuscitating before brain damage, in an attempt to acquire proof of the afterlife, naturally, very bad things start to happen. An underwhelming sequel-slash-reboot to an overrated 90’s film starring Kiefer Sutherland, Flatliners (2017) –presumably set in the same narrative as its predecessor as suggested by Sutherland’s completely pointless cameo – not once commits to being a sequel in any shape or form (the clue is the lack of numeric digits in the title), and instead opts for the lazy “soft reboot” alternative, missing a perfect opportunity to at least, ahem, breathe some life into the cult concept. The title says it all.
Starring Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Diego Luna
For more film reviews check out my blog Curious Rookie where you’ll also find updates on my travels including visits to film locations.