“Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” begins as did the prequel with a really rocking showdown involving a bespectacled British man in a bespoke suit (Taron Egerton) and a bad guy (Edward Holcroft) set to a cheesy eighties’ hit (Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”). Naturally, the good guy wins the first round, although there are more than a few hairy moments, involving dueling high technological gadgets and some low ones, as well. When the movie opens, Taron is still active in the Kingsman, a top secret spy group that operates out of a ritzy tailor shop, and in a relationship with the Swedish princess (Hanna Alstrom) he rescued in the last movie. However, the British arm meets an untimely end, forcing Taron and his colleague (Mark Strong) to emigrate to the US, where they hook up with the Statesmen (the American branch), headed by grizzled, chin-stroking, whiskey-sipping Jeff Bridges. All the American members have code names after alcohol, such as Tequila (Channing Tatum) and use gadgets like a lasso (which Taron mistakes for a skipping rope) to defeat evil. This time, evil arrives in the form of Julianne Moore, who plays a drug kingpin with a fifties-nostalgia fetish currently operating out of Cambodia, who sets in motion a possibly fatal drug epidemic and the President of the US (Bruce Greenwood) (who apparently was elected after movie Barack Obama’s head exploded last time). There’s also the possibility that one of the good guys is – get ready – a double agent.
When Taron and Mark arrive, they unexpectedly discover that their colleague (Colin Firth) who died taking out a church of rednecks in the last film, is alive, although suffering from amnesia and believing that he is actually an expert on butterflies. With Halle Berry aiding them by doing high tech computer stuff, Taron manages to cure (or semi-cure) Colin, and then the two, along with Channing, head out to the snow-covered slopes of Italy (Taron apparently returning after “Eddie the Eagle”) to track down the antidote that will cure all the people currently infected with the virus that Julianne has set in motion. Although Bruce is supposed to be on the side of the American people, he’s actually not, which is apparent every time he speaks with the Southern Drawl of Nefarious Motives. Eventually, as the body count increases, Taron, Colin and Mark visit Julianne’s lair, where she has kidnapped Sir Elton John and is forcing him to perform for her, and she also has two Transformer-like robot dogs on steroids to protect her. Anyway, the good guys manage to figure out how to foil all the baddies, so the main crew lives to see another day – and likely another sequel. There is so much action in this installment of “Kingsman,” that you only realize how absurd the plot is after you leave the theater. I also decided, somewhere around the fourth shootout, that if I am ever recruited by the Statesmen, I would like my code name to be Bacardi. Hey, it can’t be any cheesier than “Tequila.”