I totally love and adore Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Here are some reasons why – despite its miserly, sub-60 percent ratings thus far on Rotten Tomatoes – I think you will too.
The Swearing. Every second word is an expletive – as befits a director, Matthew Vaughn, who introduced his two producers at the London premiere this week as “Bad Cop and C*** Cop”. Possibly all that cussing may be a bit rich for some American ears but here’s the thing: no Hollywood studio would ever have passed this script, just as they would never have passed the Kick-Ass script in which the same language is used, only by an 11-year old girl who chops people in half with Samurai swords, like never happens ever in Hollywood movies, which is why Kick-Ass was so cool.
The Casting. No one in this movie was cast because they needed a person of color or a “strong female character.” Halle Berry is quite obviously there because they wanted Halle Berry, not because they wanted to tick a few race and gender boxes. (Ditto Samuel L Jackson in the first Kingsman, who was there, quite obviously because the part needed to be played by Samuel L Jackson, not A.N. Random Black Person)
The Violence. People get fed into mincing machines; people get torn literally in half by killer robot dogs; people get cut in half by white hot lassos; people die horrible deaths where their eyes burst blood. The body count is HUMONGOUS. But it’s all OK because the choreography is hilarious and it’s done in the spirit of good old fashioned fun like health-and-safety Nazis tell us we’re not supposed to enjoy any more.
The Sense of Fun. The obvious contrast here is with the Bond franchise. Bond is now tortured, conflicted, prone to self doubt; he cries in the shower; he wonders whether he might have a drink problem; he seems to have had an unhappy childhood: all the tedious, mopey, whiny-bitch, inner-life crap you never wanted or asked Bond to have because he’s 007 with a licence to kill, who drinks his Martinis shaken not stirred and has a penchant for Pussy Galore. That’s where Kingsman comes in. It’s Bond like Bond used to be before he he had that (sadly fatal) humor bypass operation.
The Politics. Men behave like men: with guns, baseball bats, fists or rapier wit. They dress like men too: Cowboy hats for the Americans; bespoke Savile Row suits for the British. Women behave like women: devious, decorative, dangerous. And rippling beneath the surface are a number of robustly conservative subtexts. One is: Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem; another is, behind every successful world-saving superagent is a stable loving relationship with a good woman.
The Sex Scene With Poppy Delevinge. Suffice to say that no Hollywood studio would have allowed this scene to slip under the radar, which is why it’s so refreshing, shocking and funny.
All this explains why Kingsman series director Matthew Vaughn is probably the closest thing there is to Hollywood’s AntiChrist.
And I mean that in a good way, obviously.
Everything you hate about Hollywood – the prissiness, the political correctness, the worthiness, the blandness, the anti-gender stereotyping, the greenery, that feeling you often get that every interesting or original possibility has been vetoed somewhere down the line by a committee of career-safe studio execs – Vaughn hates too.
He has to be careful not to make that hatred too obvious: after all, he still needs those movies distributed.
But what he doesn’t need is Hollywood money. All his films are financed by loyal outside backers, mainly London based ones, and he has never made a loss. This means, as Vaughn told me before this week’s opening, that he can do stuff that other directors just wouldn’t dare to do.
In the first Kingsman, for example, the chief baddie — played by Samuel L. Jackson — is an insane environmentalist who wants to save the planet by culling the human race. (Very off-message for fanatically green Hollywood.) And the new one sneaks in the highly subversive suggestion that lots of decent and otherwise law-abiding people take drugs and that it might be better and safer for all of us if they were legalised. How on earth do they get away with this stuff?
‘Because we don’t have a bunch of Hollywood suits telling us what to do. If we did, I promise you wouldn’t be liking the movie,’ says Vaughn, listing all the things that would never have been permitted in the first Kingsman film by a conventional Hollywood studio: the comedy violent massacre in the Baptist church; the exploding heads; the scene where various world leaders get blown up; the swearing; the complicated plot; the post-modern references.
These are some of the reasons why, if you hate Hollywood, I think you should love Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
The other reason, by the way, is that when I went to the opening of the Kingsman store in London (which sells very high end fashion, based on the stuff in the movie), I got talking to Matthew Vaughn (while my son, Boy Delingpole, drew the long straw of getting to chat up his wife Claudia Schiffer).
Vaughn promised me that if the film grosses more than $500 million, I can choose any item of clothing I like from the shop.
And I think it’s important that your star Breitbart writers dress like the gentlemen they are. Don’t you?