Kingsman: The Secret Service Movie Review (DVD and On Demand New Release)
If imitation is considered the highest form of flattery, Kingsman: The Secret Service is most definitely complimenting the James Bond films. While I don’t think that the Bond films have anything to worry about when competing with Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsmen: The Secret Service. But, Kingsmen is a solid film and the first of a supposed franchise. The second one is in pre-production. No word on whether Colin Firth will be returning.
Kingsmen tells the story of a super secret spy network within England not affiliated with MI5 (domestic internal national security) or MI6 ( foreign intelligence service). Know only to a secretive few within Her Majesty’s government, the Kingsmen branch deal with just about any threat foreign or domestic. Dressed to kill in tailor made suits with top of the line gadgets, the Kingsmen are a force to be reckoned with. Highly trained and motivated, they are the elites of the spy world.
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is one of those agents. Smooth, suave and sophisticated, he has seen and done it all. After one of his fellow agents dies while saving Harry’s life, Harry is compelled to visit the man’s home and tell his wife and child, Eggsy, that if they ever need anything to call a certain number and say, “Oxfords not brogues” and it will be taken care of. Eggsy ends up growing up in a tumultuous household. His mother has fallen in with a bunch of drunken louts who are abusive and lazy and after Eggsy is arrested for tangling with those same louts, he calls in the favor. Getting him out of the trouble is one thing but giving him a future is another and Harry thinks Eggsy would be perfect for the Kingsmen Secret Service branch.
Kingsmen is a wild romp. Part satire, part tongue and cheek comedy, it is undeniable fun. Yes, it travels some fairly familiar territory but this film has a clever script written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman based on the comic book “The Secret Service” which was created by Mark Milar and Dave Gibbons. It knows to not take itself too seriously but still maintains its hard edge by Vaughn. It is a bit dark at times but never loses its charm or wit. A lot of people have said that the fight sequence at the church was too over the top and hurt the film. Nonsense. It fit perfectly with the overall tone of the film and the remaining action sequences are extremely well staged. Who knew Colin Firth was so adept at action scenes featuring hand to hand combat?
Firth is terrific as Hart. He is classy and elegant, but not afraid to get down and dirty. He is well educated, articulate and debonair, but not arrogant or snobby. Taron Egerton as the teenage Eggsy, is also a revelation. He has not done too many films or TV, but he is already comfortable in front of a camera and has the makings of a fine actor. His performance balances nicely between a young punk and young man with honor and Egerton is great as both. Samuel L. Jackson is the film’s baddie and he plays a lisping megalomaniac named Valentine. He makes his billions on pushing Global Warming, but in the end Valentine acknowledges that there is not enough money to be made with that issue, so he turns to SIM cards.
His latest venue is to provide every man, woman and child a new SIM card that will provide all of your internet and technological issues for free. Of course, it turns the users into homicidal maniacs via radio waves sent from Valentine’s liar using his hand print. My question is if it turns people into maniacs and they kill each other what would be the point of that? Doesn’t he want return customers? How can you control the world’s population if one half is being slaughtered by the other half?
Valentine’s main hench person is a woman named Gazelle, who has spears with razors for legs. She can slice and dice and even make kebabs out of anyone and is icy cool to all who oppose them. Ms. Boutella is an Algerian born actress and like Mr. Egerton, she is relatively new to the big screen but does a fine job in her character. Michael Caine is Arthur, a stuffy bureaucrat like ‘M’ is to 007, but Caine does a nice job with a rather limited role. Mark Strong is Merlin and he is ‘Q’ to Eggsy’s Bond persona and it was nice to see Strong play a good guy for a change. He too, is cultured and highly qualified to be in the field and he and Egerton have nice chemistry together.
There are a number of laughs in Kingsmen and the action is fast and well choreographed. The acting is first rate from the entire cast and the script is smartly written. I can’t miss the chance to give a big rave for Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson’s score. As an infusion of electronics and orchestral arrangements, this is one for the film score library. Kingsmen is refreshingly inventive, despite some cliched elements and familiar territory. Some of it is even borderline goofy. I mean, how many megalomaniacs are there out there? But Kingsmen is undeniably fun and stylish and I can see this as a cult favorite for the future no matter who or what your spy fix is satisfied by.
Kingsmen: The Secret Service – ***1/2 out of 5
Kingsmen: The Secret Service – Rated R for violence, harsh language and nudity
Kingsmen: The Secret Service – Run Time is 128 minutes