Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Movie Review

kingsman

This spy action comedy sees English director Matthew Vaughn taking the classic James Bonds films and spinning them into a sweet, yet audacious comedic spoof. Following his success with 2010’s ‘Kick- Ass’, which showcased a tongue-in-cheek approach at the superhero genre, Vaughn orchestrates a fast-paced action vehicle that echoes the classic 007 flicks, but with an over-the-top, stylized approach that allows for a reasonable examination of what an R-rated James Bond mixed with raunchy humor would resemble. Although the film proceeds with a mean- spirited streak and experiments with humor in unapologetic territory, Vaughn crafts his concept with wit and cleverness. There is rarely a moment that goes wasted in the final product. And most importantly, the film is fully self-aware of what it is and does not aim to take itself too seriously. That is the beauty of what makes Kingsman a hell of a lot of fun. This film follows Eggsy Unwin (played by Taran Edgerton), a young man in his early twenties, the son of a former British spy who was slain in a mission gone awry. Following his arrest for a petty crime, Eggsy come face-to-face with Harry Hart a.k.a. Galahad (played by Colin Firth) who introduces him to a secret spy organization known as The Kingsman, headed by Chester King (played by Michael Caine). Their goal is recruit spies and train them to defeat an maniacal millionaire tech genius named Richmond Valentine (played by Samuel L. Jackson). With a mind-controlling chips inserted inside the brains of millions of people around the globe, Valentine’s evil plan is lead everyone on Earth to kill each other and start a new world order, and with Gazelle (played by Sofia Boutella), a martial arts woman with prosthetic legs with blades for weapons, on his side. So it is up to Eggsey and the rest of the Kingsman to stop his diabolical, or face an unspeakable global disaster.

Matthew Vaughn clearly has his tongue in his cheek when approaching the classic spy genre, with characters spewing references of James Bond sporadically throughout the picture, along with the various action elements owing homages to the British spy of cinema. Does the director’s comedic approach work? In many ways, absolutely. The movie follows a plot that is almost never meant to be taken seriously, as opposed to the more darker elements that escalate a few scenes. When the action kicks in, there is plenty of violence and a wild barrage of raunchy dialogue and humor taps at the funny bone, while echoing the bold comedic-style of ‘Kick-Ass’. It is hard not to indulge in the fun of Colin Firth beating down the bad guys in a bar, while admiring the slick, stylized execution of the action. In the process, the director always keeps things moving and almost never lets any jokes go to waste. There are a few moments where Vaughn tends to push the envelop with his comedic streak, particularly for the conservative right. Easily the scene that best demonstrates this is one involving a violent massacre at Baptist church filled with a hatred-spewing congregation, apparently paying homage to Westboro Baptist. On the other hand, this film never fails to have a good time while allowing you to turn your brain off. Colin Firth demonstrates a humorous streak with subversive dialogue and raunchy jokes. Mark Strong, playing an ally of the Kingsman gets the job done. Samuel L. Jackson, playing a maniacal villain with the persona resembling Dr. Evil from ‘Austin Powers’, shines with suitable over-the-topness of a villain with a morbid, yet humorous energy. Then there is Taran Egerton, playing a naive young man going from zero to hero, who evolves with solid charisma.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a high-octane spy action comedy blistering with rewarding comedic energy and fun that is simply irresistible, at least for those who can skim past the questionably bold humor. Matthew Vaughn lives up to his directorial talent, surpassing the over-the-top superhero spectacle that was ‘Kick-Ass’. To say the least, this movie is a total blast in the spirit of the graphic novels.

 

9 out of 10 stars

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