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Despite being jam-packed with fun, action and Hollywood stars Kingsman: The Golden Circle is easily too long

THE order of the day appears to have been to make this sequel everything Kingsman: Secret Service was but with more stars, stunts, jokes, plot . . . more EVERYTHING. It’s an approach many films take when trying to capitalise on a ­success and one that rarely works as well as it does on paper. While there is lots […]

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THE order of the day appears to have been to make this sequel everything Kingsman: Secret Service was but with more stars, stunts, jokes, plot . . . more EVERYTHING.

It’s an approach many films take when trying to capitalise on a ­success and one that rarely works as well as it does on paper.

Kingsman: Secret Service hits cinemas this week
Harry Hart (played by Colin Firth) is back from the dead in the movie
Harry Hart (played by Colin Firth) is back from the dead in the movie

While there is lots to enjoy here, it’s so long and baggy it’s hard to tell if Kingsman has its tongue in its cheek or its head up its arse.

Eggsy is now a fully-fledged Kinsgman, which is a good job as most others are indisposed due to a lunatic drug baron holding the world’s addicts to ransom with a blue rash.

A mysterious group in Kentucky called the Statesmen may just hold the solution in the guise of someone thought dead.

But before we get to that bit we need to deal with a Keith Allen cheeseburger, two robot dogs, one laser lasso, the second film to contain both Channing Tatum and John Denver this month, a great joke about bowel movements, the worst representation of Glastonbury you’ll ever see on screen and the best orange velvet tuxedo ever.

If that sounds exhausting to read, just wait until you watch it. It’s breakneck fun, total nonsense and easily 25 minutes too long.

Relentlessly moving from setpiece to exposition and back takes its toll, using up any affection you have for the characters.

Kingsman The Golden Circle trailer 2 starring Colin Firth and Taron Egerton
Channing Tatum and Halle Berry also star in this star studded film
Channing Tatum and Halle Berry also star in this star studded film
Julianne Moore
Due to the number of high profile stars the likes of Julianne Moore are arguably shunned and wasted

While Kingsman has gained confidence from the success of its first outing, the cast is ridiculously large and somewhat unnecessary — rendering talents like Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore moribund.

The Statesmen contingency adds little — making appearances from Bridges, and Channing Tatum, seem unnecessary afterthoughts.

Then you get to Elton John’s cameo.

He grumpily hits the mark more than misses.

But for every knowing riff of his infamous tantrums there is a slow-motion karate leap through the air while mugging to the camera, making you feel this was all a bit of a matey love-in.

There is a really good, taut film in here somewhere: The Golden Circle

Pedro Pascal, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Elton John
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox FIlm Corp.
Pedro Pascal, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Elton John all star in the sequel[/caption]

The movie is a whopping two hours and 21 minutes long
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox FIlm Corp. All Rights Reserved.
The movie is a whopping two hours and 21 minutes long[/caption]

First trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle starring Colin Firth and Channing Tatum

Taron Egerton
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox FIlm Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Taron Egerton reprises his role as Eggsy in the sequel [/caption]

But an insistence on hiring the whole of Hollywood, and some really odd scene choices (the less said about Poppy Delevingne’s tracking device, the better), takes the shine off its gorgeous Savile Row Oxfords.

Despite my grievances, this will undoubtedly make people happy and take a shedload of money at the box office.

I very much doubt this will be the last we see of Eggsy and Harry but maybe next time director ­Matthew Vaughn could leave the kitchen sink at home.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (15) 141 mins
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Emotional film Breathe starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy honours couple who changed views on disability after a sudden paralysis

DASHING ex-Army officer Robin Cavendish had been leaping about on a tennis court just hours earlier – but now the 28-year-old was paralysed for life. Polio had struck at lightning speed and the young dad-to-be was told he just had three months to live. Every moment of those months would be spent in hospital, hooked […]

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DASHING ex-Army officer Robin Cavendish had been leaping about on a tennis court just hours earlier – but now the 28-year-old was paralysed for life.

Polio had struck at lightning speed and the young dad-to-be was told he just had three months to live.

Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star in emotional new film Breathe about a couple who changed views on disability
Imaginarium

Every moment of those months would be spent in hospital, hooked up to a breathing machine, unable to move from the neck down.

So he begged his pregnant wife Diana, 25, to turn off the machine and let him go, so that she could be free to “start again”.

Diana refused — and took on the medical profession and medical science to not only bring her beloved husband home, but to let him live a full and rich life for another 35 years.

Along the way, the couple and their inventor friends created the first wheelchair with a portable respirator and changed the world’s attitude towards the disabled.

Ex-Army officer Robin Cavendish was paralysed for life at 28 after being struck with polio
Collect

Now their story is being told in an emotional movie opening this Friday, starring The Crown actress Claire Foy as Diana and Amazing Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield as Robin.

Titled Breathe, it was produced by the couple’s son Jonathan, who made the Bridget Jones films, and directed by Gollum actor Andy Serkis.

In an exclusive interview Diana, now 83, told The Sun: “I never considered letting him die, not at all.”

Robin’s wife Diana, who was  pregnant with their son Jonathan, pictured, had to fight to convince her husband to stay alive

But she did not just have to argue her case to doctors that he could have a decent life — she also had to talk Robin around.

She said: “It was incredibly difficult to convince him life was worth living.

“Sometimes he was terribly depressed. He was a young, healthy, athletic young man who was completely in control of his life and suddenly, bang, it was all gone.”

Diana had been watching Robin play that last game of tennis in 1958, on what had seemed a typically idyllic day for the glamorous pair.

Diana, with Claire Foy who plays her in the film, and Andrew Garfield who plays her husband
Getty Images - Getty

The couple had married in 1957 and moved to Kenya where Robin had set up as a tea trader and they were living an exotic life of expats in the then-British colony.

After his diagnosis, the couple was flown home in a military aircraft equipped with a breathing machine, and Robin was installed in a hospital in Oxford for what he was told would be the rest of a short life.

When Diana protested, she was told that if she tried to take him home and put him on a respirator, he would die within two weeks.

But the young mum, who by this stage had given birth to son Jonathan, told Robin she would get him home no matter what.

The couple were living in Kenya at the time of Robin’s diagnosis – and he was flown home where he was told he would spend the rest of his life in hospital
Imaginarium

She would defy the authorities and get him discharged, even though nobody with that degree of disability had ever left hospital before.

She recalled: “He cheered up a lot when he thought he might be able to leave hospital. They didn’t want Robin to leave.

“Doctors think they are gods, don’t they? It set a precedent, nobody had been able to get out hospital before.”

With the help of family and friends and using their savings, Diana set up a home for the couple in Oxfordshire, complete with a breathing machine.

Diana would defy the authorities to allow Robin to become the first person of that degree of disability to be discharged from hospital
Imaginarium

Those first days were harrowing. Diana explained: “When Robin did first come out of hospital you did live on a knife edge because in the early days if it stopped or became unplugged you had to react fairly quickly.

“It stopped quite a few times. You then had to operate the hand pump.”

At first Robin was still bed-bound, but their friend, the scientist Teddy Hall — best known for proving the Piltdown Man fossils were a fraud — came up with a way to free him.

He invented a battery-powered breathing machine that could be attached to a wheelchair.

A van was adapted to carry Robin and one time they even loaded the vehicle up onto an aeroplane so he could make a dream holiday to Spain.

Hugh Boneville plays the couple’s inventor friend Teddy who created a battery-powered breathing machine that could be attached to a wheelchair
Imaginarium

Diana said: “We had some very difficult times, but we also had a lot of fun. My husband was very out going, he loved people.

“If you are going to be very disabled I think it is easier to cope with it if you are an outgoing people-loving person.”

Life was also improved by a contraption known as the “possum”, which allowed Robin to control the television, turn the pages of his newspaper and speak on the telephone just by turning his head.

He was a guinea pig for the device being developed by Stoke Mandeville Hospital and which would later being used by the likes of Professor Stephen Hawking.

Diana said: “It allowed him to use the telephone. To begin with he had to go through the exchange and he had this slightly strange voice.

“One operator was heard to say to another, ‘I’ve got some kind of Dalek on the line’.”

The couple were also acutely aware that they were lucky to have the funds for good care, and so they raised money to help others get hold of the respirator wheelchairs.

Robin would also test a device that allowed him to speak on the phone which would later be used by the likes of Stephen Hawking
Getty Images - Getty

They also set up a charity to fund holidays, and became advocates for the rights of the disabled, travelling across Europe encouraging other doctors to set their patients free.

Diana said: “We were lucky we had just enough money to survive. There were lots of people like Robin languishing in hospital.

“It was a question of raising enough money so Teddy could make enough chairs for people who needed them. Robin loved projects.

“It was important for him to be occupied. It was also important to change attitudes.”

The couple’s son Jonathan, who made the Bridget Jones films, produced the film about his parents
Getty - Contributor

Their work has gone unheralded until now and even their son Jonathan, now 58, did not realise their full impact on the world until he made the movie.

 

He said: “Though I’d obviously lived through all of that, I hadn’t realised quite the trail-blazing nature of my parents’ lives.”

Diana is delighted that society now sees disabled people differently, especially thanks to events such as the Paralympics.

But she said: “Attitudes are a lot better. Although, I am told the ‘Does he take sugar? syndrome’ does still exist.

“We got a lot of that with Robin in the beginning. It made me very cross.

“I would say, ‘Well, he’s here you can ask him yourself.’”

(L-R) Director Andy Serkis, Diana Cavendish, Jonathan Cavendish, Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield at the Breathe BAFTA screening
Rex Features

Claire Foy, 33, admits she cries every time she sees Breathe — but Diana herself is, true to form, tougher.

She said: “The first time I saw it, I didn’t know how to cope with it, so I decided to adopt a very detached attitude.

“It wasn’t difficult to watch, not even when he started bleeding from the throat, because I lived all that.”

That bleeding had been caused by years of being hooked up to a machine, and when these agonising episodes became more frequent, Robin decided that he really could not fight any more.

Actress Clair Foy says she cries every time she watches Breathe
Getty - Contributor

In August 1994, aged 64, a friend helped him end his life — at home.

More than two decades on, Diana still misses him dearly.

She said: “It was lucky Robin was still alive when my son married my very lovely daughter-in-law.

“But he did not live to see his triplet grandchildren, who are now 21.

“I do keep thinking what Robin would think of the film. I am sure he would be very proud of Jonathan.”

  • Breathe opens in cinemas on Friday.
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David Brückner’s The Ritual is a funny and sarcastic offering to the horror genre — reminiscent of classics like Children of the Corn

Rafe Spall stars in this non-horror horror set in a Swedish forest exec produced by Andy Serkis. After a shocking opening scene which sees the horrific murder of one of their gang. A group of lads staring 40 in the face decide to honour his memory by going on a Swedish hiking mini break. Bad […]

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Rafe Spall stars in this non-horror horror set in a Swedish forest exec produced by Andy Serkis.

After a shocking opening scene which sees the horrific murder of one of their gang.

The Ritual’s shocking opening scene sees one of the group’s members being murdered

A group of lads staring 40 in the face decide to honour his memory by going on a Swedish hiking mini break. Bad choice.

Among the blame, accusation and insinuation being thrown about in that bleak and beautiful landscape is something far more sinister…

Clearly these four fellas are about to start being picked off one by one.

The actually very scary contents of those woods are relatively metaphorical – the whole premise of the film is based around when is it OK to be a coward – our default position.

The group of lads soon realise that they are being picked off one-by-one

What is it to be a 40 year old man in 2017? All of these questions are thrown at Luke Excellently played by a louche and petulant Rafe Spall) and “the lads”.

The very Britishness of the script gives a really funny and sarcastic twinge to proceedings, which at times feels very Children of the Corn doing Blair Witch directed by Guillermo Del Torro. A really enjoyable, surreal scare.

The Ritual

(15) 94mins

★★★★☆

Whilst there is the obvious horror of a murderer, the dreary landscape is something far more insidious
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Lego’s Ninjago is mildly entertaining – but wholly underwhelming

This is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for it’s money in terms of originality, visuals and that all important kids-adult crossover appeal. Sadly, after the incredible Lego movie and the under-rated Lego Batman, Ninjago feels a bit done-by-numbers. Ninjago is an offshoot Lego […]

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This is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for it’s money in terms of originality, visuals and that all important kids-adult crossover appeal.

Sadly, after the incredible Lego movie and the under-rated Lego Batman, Ninjago feels a bit done-by-numbers.

Ninjago is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for its money
Warner Bros

Ninjago is an offshoot Lego brand skirting dangerously close to Power Rangers territory.

All dinosaur vehicles controlled by four teenagers with different personalities.

The film doesn’t really do anything to pretend otherwise.

There are some good twists here – the inclusion of real footage works as well as it did before, as does the use of real life objects as the “ultimate weapons”.

Ninjago
Yet the film is predictable and underwhelming
Warner Bros

There are also nods to our obsession with memes and gifs - but the overall message of searching for the hero inside yourself is as predictable as it gets.

I also can't be quite sure who is crying out for cameos from Ben Shepard and Kate Garraway (no offence guys!) apart from their agents.

Ninjago is an offshoot Lego brand skirting dangerously close to Power Rangers territory
Warner Bros

My kids were mildly entertained but pretty underwhelmed, mainly because they expected something really special.

A lesson in managing expectations here - perhaps the subtext for the sequel?

Lego Ninjago

(U) 101mins

★★★☆☆

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