Kingsman: The Secret Service Movie Review
A vulgar R-rated, loopy, Bond-esque film that provides some true belly laughs through sheer bonkers action and lively characters. In summation, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is squirrel’s nuts.
Playfully mixing nearly every movie we’ve seen before, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is an underground spy agency that keeps the world safe. Secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a top Kingsman who recruits an unrefined, reckless street punk named Eggsy (Taron Egerton). Eggsy must go through an elaborately vigorous training session with a few other potential recruits (think MEN IN BLACK). Meanwhile, Harry tracks down a technology tycoon named Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). Every villain must have cool henchman and Valentine has a Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), a deadly woman with lethal prosthetic legs. These two have devised a plan to lower the world’s population through implanted SIM cards. With the push of a button, it can either make a person ferociously crazy or detonate a head clean off, despite Valentine being nauseated by the sight of blood.
Colin Firth looks sharper than ever as a gentleman with unexpected action skills. He proves he can tackle any genre and counters nicely to Samuel L. Jackson’s oddly inconsistent lisp speaking baddie. When the two discuss their love for the good guy vs. bad guy spy genre, sparks fly with giddy tongue in cheek assessments that any cinephile will appreciate. Thrown in the middle of all this wild mayhem is newcomer Taron Egerton, who more than holds his own next to these veteran movie stars. Egerton provides a charisma and natural strength that will serve him well through his future film career.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered the screening for KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. While the energy was light and fun, the film didn’t take every opportunity available to keep it fast and memorable. For instance, the opening credits pushing in on a castle in the Middle East with blown rubble bouncing to a catchy rock anthem set a rompous tone. However, the immediate following scene of a small interrogation that resulted in a trainee sacrificing himself on a grenade-lit prisoner fell flat with a wooden presentation.
Director Matthew Vaughn (LAYER CAKE, KICK-ASS, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) knows how to have fun in his films, but sometimes crutches on abrupt vulgarity (see KICK-ASS). I understand that this tactic can work wonders for many audiences but it is an unnecessary tool that can sometimes feel a bit like forced shock treatment. Don’t get me wrong, the zany action in KINGSMAN is what really sells the film. In fact, I appreciated some of the less bloody approach to violence in favor for the head popping party favor technique. Unfortunately, it was some of the over-the-top vulgarity that felt out of place, alienating the film into an unnecessary no family and especially no kid zone.
While I found nearly every piece of KINGSMAN from another film or even book (Stephen King’s ‘Cell’), its presentation was very unique. Even the poor special effects seem to fit into the borderline grindhouse cinema plotline. Despite the many missteps, (Where are all the other Kingsman when the final battle occurs?), there is no denying the contagious spell the ridiculously wacky entertainment of KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is able to provide. But don’t take your kids.