Hollywood’s light-hearted spy blockbuster Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been banned in Cambodia due to a scene that portrays the nation and one of its famous temples as a hotbed of crime, an official said yesterday.
The action-comedy sequel follows a fictional British spy organization that joins forces with a US counterpart to search for a drug lord’s hideout, which turns out to be a temple in Cambodia.
Bok Borak, director of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fina Arts’ film department, said the “unacceptable” film was banned from theaters for “using the name Cambodia as a hideout for criminals.”
“What is more worrying is that it uses one of our temples as a place to produce drugs, to kill people cruelly ... So we don’t allow the screening of this film in our country,” he added.
He said the movie was not filmed in Cambodia, but the drug lord’s temple resembled Ta Prohm — a site in the famed Angkor Wat complex that is tangled in tree roots and was used as a set for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
“Our temple is a world heritage site that we must protect and it is not a place for such things,” Borak said, adding that a letter would be sent to the film’s producers “to show our frustration.”
Westec Media, which purchased the local distribution rights for the film, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Cambodia is a popular smuggling route and destination for narcotics, particularly methamphetamine and heroin, and notoriously corrupt authorities have made it an easy hideout for foreign criminals and fugitives.
It is not the first time Cambodia has outlawed entertainment it considers harmful to the nation’s traditional values.
In the past two months the government has banned two Hollywood films — including horror movie Jigsaw — for excessive violence deemed inappropriate.
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