Many a spy film has been mocked and spoofed for as long as they have been in existence. Some are done terribly while others are done with just enough class and respect that the experience is nothing short of enjoyable. The latter can be said for director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-ass & Snatch) ultraviolent romp Kingsman: The Secret Service, which sees the much loved Brits Colin Firth and Michael Caine poking fun at the archetypes of the spy flick while simultaneously kicking ass and taking names.
Gary Unwin a.k.a. ‘Eggsy’ (Taron Egerton) is a street thug hanging out with the wrong crowd and not realising his full potential. Facing the possibility of prison, he is saved by the mysterious and suave Harry (Colin Firth) who takes Eggsy under his wing to become a Kingsman. Run by the old school Arthur (Michael Caine), Kingsman is a secret organisation of spies that pretty much saves the world on a daily basis while simultaneously keeping their tailored suits in pristine condition. What Eggsy soon finds out is his father once was a Kingsman, whose dedication to the cause cost him his life. Of course every spy caper needs an over the top villain, cue crazy for cocoa puffs billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) whose diabolical plot to eradicate most of the human population bar a select few via SIM cards (yes you read that correctly) is made all the more far-fetched when a speech impediment is thrown into the mix. Eggsy quickly learns and adapts to the Kingsman way, building up to an action packed final showdown that James Bond himself would be jealous of.
When you realise the guy that directed this film was also responsible for the hilariously violent Kick-ass, a certain tone is kind of expected. The first part of the movie is fairly tame for Vaughn’s apparent tastes, but the latter half of the film sees a complete turn of events. The action sequences are brilliantly vicious to its core, but done so in a way that doesn’t make you cringe, but rather find it quite enjoyable (at least in this reviewers case). Such as when Firth’s Harry Hart disposes of a bunch of moronic hoodlums with his trusty umbrella and not much else, without so much as a hair out of place, much like fan favourite Hit-Girl before him.
Newcomer Egerton is solid in his performance as the apprentice Kingsman, bringing with him an almost virtuous quality that lends itself nicely to the incredulous Eggsy. Of course the standout is Oscar winner Firth, whose just so slick and sarcastic as Hart, complete with dark rimmed glass and suit just so, that you just want to see him in a fight montage every scene he’s in. What makes the character all the more enjoyable is its clear Firth is having an apologetically fun time with this character, not taking himself too seriously unless the scene really calls for it, with one of the few sobering parts of the movie.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a deliciously take no prisoners spy flick that brings plenty of action and intelligent humour to the fray, ensuring an enjoyable experience for audiences. Having more experienced players in the mix does help with the consistency and tone of the film, ensuring a far more thrilling narrative than other spy satires from years’ past.
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