Kingsman: The Secret Service

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It’s weird. When writer/director/producer Matthew Vaughn did the Kick-Ass movies, they were parodying a genre, and the movie basically became the thing it was parodying. They were a mess. Yet Vaughn’s last two X-Men movies were great. I also enjoyed The Debt and Layer Cake. So for me, the Kick-Ass films were a rare misstep for Vaughn.

Kingsman pays homage to the James Bond movies, and it’s better than the last six Bond movies I’ve seen. This film is a blast!

There’s a combination of well-known actors (Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel Jackson, and an unrecognizable Mark Hamill), mixed with unknown actors that all turn in good performances. The combination works wonderfully.

An early fight scene has Colin Firth (Harry Hart), impeccably dressed, going into a grimy London pub to have a chat with a rebellious teen. He has just bailed the kid out of prison, and we saw an earlier scene where the boys father died saving colleagues while on a mission.

The cocky cockney thugs that harass him don’t know what they’re in for. We do. And as fun as it is watching Firth pummel barroom patrons, you’re going to get a scene later in the movie where he fights many more in a church – in a manner that many will find gratuitous, but is brilliant, sick fun (it’s also the best use of the song “Freebird” in movie history). Tarantino could learn something from watching this.

The Kingsmen are a group of British spies that fight crime under the radar. There’s a recruiting process going on, and Harry Hart brings in the rebellious teen, after seeing he excels in many areas that make him a good candidate. You get the predictable bullies that young Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has to deal with, but very little about this movie is predictable.

There are a lot of comedic moments that totally hit their mark, too. At first, I thought those would only involve Samuel L. Jackson – as the sadistic psychopath who has a lisp. It’s such a fun twist, since Jackson has such an authoritative scream and demeanor on screen. To hear him meekly lisp as he talks about taking over the world, never gets old.

His right-hand man…is a woman called Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). In real life, she’s a street dancer. In this, she makes us think about all those Bond girls that used to kick butt. She has prosthetic legs that are blades. It makes her fast. It also gives her weapons that can take limbs off.

There was a point when weapons are shown to Eggsy, and you’ll wish the 007 pictures would go back to having fun scenes like that.

Watching this movie reminded me of what it was like going to see those big productions as a kid; the over-the-top action, the comic relief, and the chemistry between the various characters.

This reminds me a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy, in the way that the commercials looked goofy, but you’re pleasantly surprised when you see it.

Go check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

It gets 4 stars out of 5.

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