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The dapper, British intelligence agents are back to saving the world again. This time, with the help of their American counterparts, the Bourbon whiskey-loving Statesman.

With the same funny, quirky and visual inventiveness, the sequel to a 2014 blockbuster proves to be the humorous version of a Bond film.

The jam-packed, CGI-assisted action scenes start right when the opening credits end. Eggsy Unwin battles former Kingsman applicant with high-technology robotic arm and survivor of Valentine’s exploding implants, Charlie Hesketh, in a car chase, barely escaping authorities and his acquaintance-turned-villain.

But an even bigger and more sinister baddie comes to destroy all of the Kingsman, killing Eggsy’s dog JB and partner agent Roxy. This terrorist is The Golden Circle, spearheaded by Poppy Adams – the uber rich “businesswoman” living in a 1950s-blanketed, ancient ruins in Cambodia and brainchild of the biggest drug cartel in the world disguised as a pharmaceutical company – utilizes Charlie’s broken off cybernetic arm and hacks into the secret group’s database, locates them and kills them all off with missiles exceot for Eggsy and Merlin. Not exactly the sweetest thing you would expect Julianne Moore would do, but the contrast makes for effective villainy.

Unlike the Secret Service, The Golden Circle is not much of a satire but instead a farce, combining drama (regaining Kingsman head Harry Hart’s lost memories of the agency’s workings) and comedy (Elton John’s apparent kidnapping and outrageous cameo) with straightforward characterization and improbable situations.

Obviously, a follow-up movie – where there’s frankly less growth in the characters – calls for a new mission. When Poppy broadcasts that she has laced a toxin on all recreational drug there is (cocaine, meth, name it) and Stateman agent Tequila falls victim, Eggsy and replacement agent Whiskey set out to find the antidote. Hence, the beginning of the war on toxic drugs.

If it rings a bell, surely the drug situation in the country comes to mind.

Here are 5 ways ‘Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle’ remind us of the local drug problem and the war waged against it:

1. Drug users come from all backgrounds.

From party-goers at the Glastonbury Music Festival to the chief secretary of the President of the United States, millions fell victim to Poppy’s evil plans. The toxin causes users to, at the first stage, develop the blue rash (which in an absurd twist, became viral online) before progressing through mania, paralysis and ultimately, death. An ordinary kid from a presumably working-class family and Eggsy’s girlfriend, Princess Tilde, also developed the so-called blue rash. Drug use and dependence knows no class or background. It can hit the young and old alike. In the country, owners of posh condo units or those living in informal settlements are caught manufacturing, distributing, selling and using illegal drugs like marijuana, shabu, cocaine, among others.

2. Drug lords rule an empire and make a fortune. Tons of it. 

If you’re Poppy and you can live in isolation and build a 50s-inspired strip out of undiscovered, ancient ruins, you must be mega-rich. Local drug lords are reportedly owners of booming businesses, lavish properties, and expensive cars. Even those inside the New Bilinid Prison in Muntinlupa get to have their own lairs under the authorities’ noses, which shows you just how much drugs can rake in.

3. Dealing with drugs means imminent death.

Never ever give a drug cartel leader a meat mincer because Poppy has just given them another sinister idea on how to get rid of disloyal and dishonest people: Have their bodies shoved down the grinder and create patties out of it. Meat mincers for those involved in the local drug trade are usually guns. At times, it even comes with a cardboard stating, “Drug pusher ako. ‘Wag tularan.” Human rights groups have called on the current administration for what it considers ‘state-sanctioned killings’, with the President himself encouraging the police forces to ‘kill them all’. The worst part, however, even the young and innocent can be ‘collateral damage’. Think Kian Loyd Delos Santos for reference.

4. The President can be as much of a problem.

To cure millions affected by Poppy’s toxin, she offered to share the antidote to the world if the President of the United States legalizes all drugs and give her immunity from all convictions. But forget the POTUS you’ve seen in Olympus Has Fallen, the president in the film takes advantage of the situation to kill all drug users. He’s willing to let Poppy do the job for him, a clear consent to spill blood.

5.  Small-time drug dealers and users are jailed. 

POTUS offered all affected citizens help by proceeding to medical facilities that can accommodate millions of people for the cure, but all this was obviously for show. Instead of helping those suffering from the toxin, the president wanted them to be quarantined. Some were left to die and some, well on their way to their demise. Locally, the small-time drug dealers and users get much jail time. Others weren’t so lucky. They died in shootouts with the authorities because, “Nanlaban sila.”

The only striking difference of the Kingsman: the Golden Circle is that unlike Poppy, the antidote to drug addiction has not been found yet. It remains a persistent problem that has so far been bloody, and filled with controversy and debate over morals, human rights violations and justice.

The movie, however, failed to exhibit a solid story line on the drug problem, sidelined by the initial fall of the Kingsman HQ and multiple attempts of the remaining Kingsman Eggsy and Melvin to bring back Harry’s memories. Rebuilding the intelligence agency was especially dragging, more so when the viewers are dying to see what action will unfold in destroying Poppy, his robotic dogs and the Golden Circle.

Just like Eggsy and the rest of Kingsman and the Statesman, the cartoon-like effects, attention to detail and humor saved this movie from complete boredom.

Photo from DNA India

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