MOVIE BUFF-ET: Kingsman franchise grows stale with second outing

Kingsman: The Golden Circle / Courtesy

Director Matthew Vaughn’s second foray in the comic-book world of the Kingsman attempts to re-create the fun, filth, and energy of the original, but “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” connects left of center with its campy tone and high-stakes antics that are just too familiar.

The movie has action and laughs as it shotgun blasts high concept idea after high concept at the audience, but with a similar plot to the original but lacking its twists and turns, the film is too flat to totally work.

While Julianne Moore is one of film’s finest actresses of the last 25 years, she just doesn’t fit the role of maniacal, world-threatening villain like Samuel L. Jackson did in the original.

Taron Egerton is serviceable as Eggsy, the secret agent from the wrong side of the tracks who makes good, but one has to question if he or the character has the lasting appeal to carry the franchise much further.

It’s fun to see the likes of Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, and Colin Firth yuck it up, but by the time the third act rolled around, I was checking my watch.

The film’s not horrible, but it is too long and lacks the over-the-top signature moments that worked so well in the original. One must wonder if Kingsman has the legs to run much further as a franchise.

Vaughn is a strong director, but is it the best use of his talent to spend two more years of his life in an attempt to extend an already tired franchise?
I hope not.

(R) 2 hr. 21 min.
Grade: C

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Classic Corner


The days are growing shorter, the sun is rising later, and the last couple of mornings there has been a bit of a chill in the air. That’s only appropriate as the calendar soon turns to the month of October.

What’s also appropriate for October is Turner Classic Movies’ annual celebration of things that go bump in the night in honor of Halloween. This year the network’s Monster of the Month — rather than Star of the Month — is Count Dracula.

Each Sunday this month TCM will screen a selection of pictures based on Bram Stoker’s Prince of Darkness stating at 7 p.m. CST.

This Sunday a trio of classic Universal Pictures’ Dracula films are on tap featuring the whole blood-sucking family in 1931’s “Dracula,” “Dracula’s Daughter,” and “Son of Dracula.”

All three hold their wicked charms, but perhaps the best of the early Dracula films plays at 11:30 p.m. as part of TCM’s Weekly late-night Silent Sunday theme, “Nosferatu.”

While Dracula’s name is totally left out of F.W. Mourner’s 1922 classic, “Nosferatu” is an unauthorized adaption of Stoker’s novel that clings more closely to the source than many of the films that follow that actually mentioned the count by name.

Later films humanized the fictional Transylvanian vampire loosely based on the historical Hungarian prince, Vlad Tepes, but star Max Schreks’s Count Orlok is a fiend from Hell. The unholy creature is cursed with a combination of rat-like and bat-like features that’s the furtherest thing from the suave, continental look that would soon come into vogue thanks to Lugosi . Lugosi’s performance as the count remains iconic, but Schreck’s Orlok is a far creepier version of Stoker’s parasitic anti-hero.

The movie is one of the classics of German Expressionist filmmaking which embraces the surreal in favor of realism. It might take a bit of patience to sink your teeth into a silent movie, but the effort is worth it with a movie like “Nosferatu” which left an indelible mark on all subsequent vampire movies.

While Dracula is getting TCM’s star treatment this month, the network is not ignoring other horror flicks. TCM is also allocating Tuesday nights in October as Horror Night.

This Tuesday the monster movies of Universal Pictures are featured, beginning at 7 p.m. with the 1931 version of “Frankenstein.” Also on the menu is “Bride of Frankenstein,” —perhaps the best of the studio’s horror oeuvre — “The Mummy,” The Wolfman,” “The Island of Lost Souls,” “The Black Cat,” and “ The Invisible Man.”

Set your DVRs, if you dare.