Kingsman: The Secret Service
Dir: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, and Michael Caine
The spy movie is defined by the James Bond film series. Whenever the world is in some kind of beyond ridiculous circumstance of peril James Bond is called in to handle the situation with that cool and calm British demeanor. Director Matthew Vaughn, the creative mind behind “Kick-Ass” and “X-Men: First Class”, takes the copied spy formula and adds his own twists of violence and humor to craft “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. From the beginning moments of the film you’ll understand that Vaughn’s outlandish version of a spy film shouldn’t be taken too serious, in fact it works better if you simply sit back and enjoy the ride.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a rebellious young man, is on the verge of ruining his life after a car jacking gone wrong. However, a medal given to him by an associate of his late father offers a phone number for a "favor", one that after being called upon immediately releases Eggsy from jail. Waiting for him is a man named Harry Hart (Colin Firth) who is a spy in a secret agency known as The Kingsman. Eggsy is recruited and trained in deadly combat but also in the finer manners of being a gentleman. A billionaire known as Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) concocts a plan to give the world free phone and Internet service controlled by his global network, one that when initiated with a signal will turn all the users of his service into bloodthirsty maniacs. It's up to Eggsy and the Kingsman to stop the nefarious plan.
"Kingsman" works best when Colin Firth is around to anchor the film with his characters serious tone and demeanor. The film is constantly moving and filled with flamboyant characters, just like any early James Bond film would be, but it takes at least one character to uphold the dramatic elements so that the danger and peril hold substance. When Firth isn't on screen the film spirals with an uneven tone. Though this film isn't the kind to be taken too serious. Even when the film comes off the hinges and succumbs to the excesses of glorious over-the-top violence and narrative winks and nudges that offer a comic homage to the spy movies that came before it, “Kingsman” is still entirely entertaining. Whether the shocking viciousness of a henchwoman with sharpened blades for legs or the “Free Bird” assisted soundtrack that plays amidst the bloody carnage of a no-holds-barred fight to the death inside a church. Just when you think it can’t get more audacious it somehow does.
Samuel L. Jackson plays a great villain, even when he's speaking with a lisp and sporting a sideways baseball cap. Jackson's character is composed of the kind of cliché bad guy archetypes that make them so amusing, big ego and even bigger plans. Jackson is clearly having fun with the character. Newcomer Taron Edgerton is also good, playing Eggsy with equal parts authority defying confidence and reluctant self-consciousness. It's a nice composition especially when the character is challenged with a unnerving task.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” incorporates some very interesting aspects, the connection to King Arthur’s roundtable and the gentlemanly weaponry are just two of the fun elements that transcend this film beyond others like it. Even though the film pushes the preposterous components sometimes too far, it also strangely works within the realms of a spy film. Matthew Vaughn is a good director who has established his unapologetic and at times controversial style of filmmaking, a quality that assists in lifting this film above many of the trappings it should fall into.
3.50 out of 5.00