20th Century Fox                   141 Minutes                       R          Reviewed September 22, 2017

Sequels are supposed to take movie franchises to new heights. Kingsman:The Golden Circle aims to do just the opposite. There's more of everything here; more blood, foul language, laughs and a higher body count. The frantic, manic pace doesn’t let go.

The great drawback of this edition of Kingsman is that it simply tries to stuff too much of everything into this bloated 2 two hour piece. Some crafty editing could have easily brought this in under 2 hours with a few less dead bodies and whip-cracks.

Writer/Director Matthew Vaughn (along with writing partner Jane Goldman) serve up another helping of their adaptation of The  Secret Service comic books with suave, yet profane Eggsy (Taron Egerton) leading the charge to save humanity. Eggsy’s storyline from the first movie continues in his relationship with Tilde, (Hanna Alström) the Swedish Princess he rescued. She’s pretty, royal but feels like excess baggage in this plot.

After the Kingsman network and almost all the agents are wiped out in a blitzkrieg attack, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) find aid through their American counterparts, another secret intelligence agency named Statesman. While the Kingsman are all named after Knights of the Round Table, the Statesman agents take their names from adult beverages. Jeff Bridges, the leader, is Champagne and Channing Tatum is Tequila. Halle Berry even shows up as a mousey Statesman agent named Ginger Ale.  

The Kingsman is up against a fetching leader of the Golden Circle, billionaire super-villain Poppy, played by Julianne Moore who appeared to relish every sneering grin and fiendish act of cruelty. The gimmicks fly faster than the bullets. Colin Firth’s Harry gets to unfurl his bullet-proof umbrella. (If you’re confused since Samuel L. Jackson killed him in the original, apparently death is only a suggestion in this franchise.) Electric-charged whips and robotic killer mad-dogs only scratch the surface. The CG Department works over-time piecing together one camera pivot after the next as bullets, rockets and knives coming from multiple directions fill the screen.

The showcase action sequence takes place in a cable car careening down a snow-covered mountain in the Alps. Eggsy and Whiskey (Narco’s Pedro Pascal) are spinning and slamming their way to a screaming stop. It’s a series of super quick cuts. Like most of the movie, it’s predictable, hokey, jolly fun.

Vaughn and Goodman even weave many kinds of music into the plot. Some with hilarious effect, other times almost embarrassingly overdone. Sir Elton John is listed in the credits so that’s no spoiler, but you’ll have to decide if it’s Sir Elton or Mark Strong’s singing that’s guilty of ruining a well known tune.

As we’ve had to say so many times before in reviewing sequels, if you were a fan of the first, you’ll pay your bucks and probably enjoy this. That doesn’t mean this is a great movie, but rather a head-spinning romp that sets up Taron Egerton and probably Channing Tatum to go round and round in a circle at least one more time.