Galactic Outlaws. I though it might be interesting, but I never thought it could be so enthralling. What the series until now is, is a lot of things. It's a healthy mix of space opera, and military sci-fi, but what it is always, is worth reading. Today, I'll focus just on the first book in the series, titled Legionnaire.
Best way to describe Legionnaire is to say the book is like Generation Kill but set in space on some God forsaken planet at the edge of the galaxy. That said, if you have ever seen the show, Legionnaire is better. And for the longest time I was looking for a reason why that is so. It does it's characters justice. It does the Legionnaires justice. It's brimming with protagonists who are from the get-go likable, and once you get to know them better, lovable. You root for them, you feel for them. And when they start fuming about the incompetence of appointed officers, you'll be ranting over "points" too.
I would like to say there is more to the book, but I'd rather have you read it for yourself. Trust me, it's worth it. If you ever enjoyed anything like a military film you'll enjoy it, and if you like a good story about heroics in space you'll love it.
Friday, 6 October 2017
Having enjoyed the first Kingsman film, deciding to see the second one in the cinema was not hard. The Golden Circle is a worthy sequel to the first film, full of exciting action scenes, funny moments, and at times rather touching moments. So if you haven't seen the film yet, I hearthly recommend you do so.
Now come SPOILERS, so consider yourself warned if you care about such things. If you don't, or indeed have already seen the film continue with no further ado.
As much as I love the film for the things I praised it, I think the people behind the film could've done a better job. Not because the film is bad, but because it would be very easy and simple to take it up a notch, and make a masterpiece out of it.
Namely, most of the problems I have with the film can be summed in how rushed the ending was, the cheapening of deaths of beloved characters, and trying to be political but not really.
In the first film Agent Galahad (Colin Firth) died. In the second film, we learn that he miraculously survived thanks to the introduction of Kingsman sister agency Statesman. The problem with this turn of events is that from that point onward we don't really buy any death of any friendly characters. We decide that for the purpose of this film they're probably away, but in the next one, they'll probably come back alive and ready for action.
This leads to a series of rather grouesome deaths for the two characters I would have loved to see in some sequel, but due to the nature of their deaths it seems rather unlikely. Merlin stepped on a landmine, and was shot and torn to pieces, while Agent Whiskey was litterally made into minced meat.
Now, while Merlin went on a high note, the death of Whiskey was an overkill. Especially as it came after the main villain was already dead and defeated. His death didn't add to plot, it didn't further the story, it served nothing but to provide us with a cool looking fight scene. I hate that. The reasons why Whiskey wanted to allow the President's plan to take place is rather understandable. He lost his wife to a couple of meth-heads who robbed a grocery store.
Instead of Eggsy and Galahad trying to reason with him, and explain how killing millions of people won't bring back the love of his life, or appeal to his sense of duty as a Statesman, they just kill him in one of the most stupildy profound ways. What's even worse is that all his death seems to serve is for Ginger to get her promotion as a field agent. Because "evil Agent Whiskey" was all that stood in her way. That he opposed to her becoming a field agent because he cared for her, and wanted to avoid what happened to his wife happening to her is irrelevant.
Another thing that has to do with Agent Whiskey, but is never properly established, is why Galahad shot him in the first place. Yes, in hindsight, we know Galahad was right, but as it stands, we're left with trusting his sixth sense. Maybe that works for Eggsy, but it sure doesn't work for me.
The last thing, was the handling of the president. The president had a chance to be a great villain in the background for years to come. A two-faced opportunist that was willing to further his own political agenda at whatever the cost. It would be great if at the end, the President just took all the credit for saving the druggies, like he promised in the public, while raging behind the scenes how his plan was thwarted. It would've been great if they used Chief of Staff Fox to develop her into a real villain after resigning form the President's office. Instead they opted for rather unimaginative approach of impeaching the president. If that strikes anyone as feverish day-dreaming, you're not alone.
As a bonus, instead of Eggsy's girlfriend doing drugs to provide a motivation for him, how about having Eggsy at the start of the film lecture his friend how drugs are bad for him. Because in all honesty, Eggsy doesn't need an outside personal motivation to stop the villain (which is done great, and meets the most appropriate end by the end of the film). Him being a Kingsman is motivation enough.
That said, while there were blunders, and mistakes were made, the film was still enjoyable, and well worth the admission ticket. I just wished they killed Tequilla, and let Whiskey join Kingsmen as a liaison instead. Yes, I'm still bitter about that meaningless loss of a great character ...
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