Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers as it took an anarchic, often transgressive approach to the super-spy genre and made a star of Taron Egerton. Now Matthew Vaughn is back with a sequel, and it's rather clear that he has a franchise in mind. The new movie is still wildly energetic and eye-catching, but it also has a more predictable plot that takes fewer risks.
We catch up with Eggsy (Egerton) as he's a respectable member of the Kingsman juggling his private life with his serious girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). But megalomaniacal drug lord Poppy (Julianne Moore) and her part-cyborg henchman Charlie (Edward Holcroft) launch a vicious attack on Kingsman bases, leaving Eggsy and his colleague Merlin (Mark Strong) on their own. For help, they turn to their American counterpart Statesman, run by Champ (Jeff Bridges). His agents Tequila, Whiskey and Ginger (Channing Tatum, Pablo Pascal and Halle Berry) offer help getting Kingsman back on its feet. And they also reveal that they've rescued fallen agent Harry (Colin Firth), who is recovering from a brain injury. Meanwhile, Poppy launches a global assault.
To tell this rather simple story, Vaughn indulges in all kinds of flashy visual trickery. The action sequences are choreographed like wacky cartoons, as the camera swoops through the complicated mayhem with acrobatic skill. And the characters are vividly played by the top-notch cast with maximum personality flourishes. Egerton is terrific at the centre, as adept at physicality and comedy as he is at finding a touch of emotion here and there. His scenes with Firth are especially strong. And Moore makes the most of her goofy kingpin, who is trying to recreate 1950s Americana in the jungle, plus added madcap 1970s flair with a riotous Elton John, who gets stuck right into the mayhem.
Continue reading: Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review
For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was never a likely candidate for a spy. After stealing a car and being a bit of a hooligan (who's always up for a laugh) eventually Eggsy landed himself in trouble with the police. What the outside world didn't know about Eggsy was his father was an incredibly brave probationary secret agent and Eggsy displays many of his father's strengths. Kingsman Harry Hart sees Eggsy's potential and trains him up as a Kingsman spy. Only Eggsy and one other trainee, Roxy, succeed in proving that they have what it takes to become a Kingsman. Together, with the help of Harry and their quartermaster, Merlin, they defeat psychopathic billionaire Richmond Valentine. Their mission is a success but in the process Harry is shot in the head.
Though Eggsy loses his mentor, life continues for the young spy and he becomes the Kingsman that Hart always knew him to be. As worldwide threats become known, the Kingsman are once again placed as the brink of extermination. Their headquarters and training grounds are blown up and Eggsy and Merlin must once again find a way to save the world.
Their hunt takes them to America and it's revealed that The Kingsman aren't the only highly secret organisation looking to protect the world; the two Brit's are introduced to Champagne, Jack Daniels and Tequila - three agents working for the Statesman, the US equivalent to Kingsman. With the help of their new American counterparts, Eggsy, Merlin and some other familiar faces might just stand a chance of saving the world all over again.
Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt him when he receives a strange letter in the post. It takes him back to his university days when he met the love of his life Veronica Ford. Though they have been estranged since then, she bequeaths him a diary in her will. Their separation was one of bitterness and heartbreak; his best friend Adrian Finn ended up stealing Veronica's heart, and Tony reacted by sending them a very angry letter in response to their partnership. Not long after, Adrian died in mysterious circumstances and with all the horror of those years brought up once again, Tony is forced to confront his guilt and innoncence in the whole saga - as well as other people's suspicions.
Continue: The Sense Of An Ending Trailer
A young teen with an incredible IQ and first-rate academic performance takes the wrong path in life by getting involved in drugs and petty crime. He is caught by police during one dramatic car chase but is released unexpectedly by Secret Service agent Uncle Jack. Jack sees a lot of potential in the kid and introduces him to the world of International Intelligence. Initially impressed by the gadgetry and glamour of the Service, Uncle Jack introduces him to a new division: the Kingsman. There’s a job going for the brightest young adults in the country and Jack wants his new recruit to prove himself against the upper class kids who rival him. It soon becomes clear, though, that the world of Intelligence is not just a fun game when the training starts getting intensely scary.
Continue: Kingsman: The Secret Service Trailer
Rose Hathaway is formidable half human half vampire with only one purpose in life; to defend the royal moroi clan - in particular Princess Vasilisa Dragomir - with her life as the evil vampires, named strigois, target her and the rest of the peaceful nightwalkers of St Vladimir's Academy. Rose and Lissa may only drink when blood is donated to them, but the strigois hunt to kill, with no discrimination between vampire and human. Rose and Lissa initially try to run away from the city in search of safety, but they are brought back and Rose is forced to continue her training. Her mentor, Dimitri Belikov, takes time to help them in increasing their strength and making them equipped enough to deal with their foes - but there's deception everywhere, and not everyone is who they seem.
Continue: Vampire Academy Trailer
Rose Hathaway is a dhampir which means that she is half human and half vampire. She is in training to be a guardian for her best friend Vasilisa Dragomir - a royal princess vampire of the peaceful moroi clan who drink only donor blood and never to kill. They attend the prestigious St Vladimir's Academy where they find themselves under threat of the brutal strigois; ruthless vampires who drink with the intention of killing their victims and who have a particular vendetta against Lissa. Rose must use all the power that she has developed to defend Lissa from certain death - running away is not an option, having tried and failed once already. With the help of Rose's mentor Dimitri Belikov, they become stronger and more able to defend themselves against evil - but have they learnt enough?
'Vampire Academy' is a fantasy thriller based on the award-winning teen novel series by Richelle Mead. It has been directed by Mark Waters ('Mean Girls', 'Freaky Friday', 'Mr. Popper's Penguins') and written by Daniel Waters ('Batman Returns', 'Demolition Man', 'Hudson Hawk') and has become the latest in a string of new vamp flicks that have been released over the past couple of years. It will hit UK cinemas next year on February 19th 2014.