Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong
Release Date (US): 13th February, 2015
Company: 20th Century Fox
“Manners maketh man.” – Harry Hart
Re-uniting director Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) with comic book writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), Kingsman: The Secret Service delves into the highly classified and ultra-cartoony world of the old-school spy thriller. Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) stars as Harry Hart, an agent of a top-secret spy organisation – characterised by their somewhat ‘old-fashioned’ traditions and values. He causes a stir when he recruits a promising, yet unrefined, street kid named ‘Eggsy’ into the agency’s rigorous training programme.
Based on Millar’s highly acclaimed source material, Kingsman‘s main plot line can only be described as ‘borderline ridiculous’. It’s wild, extravagant and, at times, outrageously violent, yet this light-hearted take on the spy genre thankfully still goes down a treat. The script, co-written by Vaughn and his long-time writing partner, Jane Goldman, expertly blends the tongue-in-cheek theatricality of classic Bond movies with the high-octane thrills of the modern day blockbuster to deliver an fascinating parody of both genres.
That’s not to say the film doesn’t possess it’s own unique merits. One of the most interesting themes throughout is the juxtaposition between it’s two leads. One is an upper class ‘English gentleman’, the other, a working class boy, hailing from a much tougher background. Not content with simply hiding behind stereotypes, Vaughn’s film moves beyond the class divide. It’s the emphasis on the similarities that this unlikely duo share that helps to forge a powerful and memorable bond between mentor & protégé.
“You are about to embark on the most dangerous job interview in the world.” – Merlin
Kingsman‘s consistently brilliant ensemble boasts an eclectic mixture of youthful talent and acting juggernauts. Colin Firth is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch as the wonderfully suave yet deadly Harry Hart – yet another role Mr Darcy seemed born to play. Equally impressive, however, is newcomer Taron Egerton as Eggsy. Despite his relative inexperience, Egerton holds his own as the gusty hero with a chip on his shoulder, possessing just the right amount of charm, cheek and charisma.
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers) will likely be a big hit with audiences, thanks to his delightfully eccentric performance as Valentine – a twisted tech genius with a speech impediment. Yet he’s overshadowed by his deadly henchwoman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) – defined by her particularly ruthless (and bloody) style of fighting. Both she and Sophie Cookson’s Roxy represent two well-written female characters who play significant roles in the plot. Mark Strong is simply as brilliant as ever in a fun supporting turn.
Direction & Tone
A personal favourite of mine, Matthew Vaughn has to be one of the most talented and diverse directors working in Hollywood today. Having already delivered two fantastic comic-book adaptations with Kick-Ass & First Class, he now adds a third to his very impressive filmography. While the movie does get a little over-the-top crazy in the last fifteen minutes, his unique blend of insanity and light-hearted humour helps make The Secret Service one of the most entertaining action comedies in recent years.
- They actually filmed part of this movie at the university I go to. They even blow up my department building! There’s a moment I’ll hold close to my heart forever 😉
- I don’t think I’ll ever come around to accepting product placement. However, when a movie like this comes along and has so much fun with the concept – I can’t help but almost let it slide. Almost.
- Kingsman had it’s fair share of brilliant moments – but there’s one particular piece of carnage that stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If not… well I’m sure you all will very soon. It’s perfect.
Stylish, brutal and unapologetically ‘over-the-top’, Kingsman boasts one of the most wildly entertaining adventures of the year. It may get a little too gimmicky at times, but that’s all a part of its inherent charm as a throwback to the old school spy classics.
Result: “Very Good”