Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service


Directed by Matthew Vaughn

2015. Rated R, 129 minutes.
Cast:
Colin Firth
Samuel L. Jackson
Mark Strong
Michael Caine
Taron Eggerton
Sophie Cookson
Sofia Boutella
Samantha Womack
Geoff Bell
Mark Hamill

Eggsy (Egerton) is a troubled, college-aged youth who hangs out at the local pub and occasionally finds himself at odds with the local thugs. This is on top of a bunch of problems he's having at home. Luckily, someone owes his deceased dad a favor. That someone is not just any regular dude, either. It's Harry Hart (Firth), code-name Gallahad, a veteran super spy for a secret organization called The Kingsman. He sees something in the youngster, takes him off the streets, and dumps him into the latest Kingsman training session. At the end, only one of the trainees will get a job. We follow along as Eggsy tries to be that one. That's hardly it, though. Various heads of state and other important folks start to go missing all over the world. The common link between them seems to be billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine (Jackson). Harry trying to figure out just what Valentine is up to and trying to stop him also ensues.

There are a couple of things to know going into Kingsman: The Secret Service. First is that for every part of this two hour joyride it's tongue is firmly in its cheek. It not only makes jokes all along the way, it invites the audience to be in on it. It's completely aware of its own ridiculousness and takes things to the level of being a spoof of super spy flicks, particularly James Bond movies. It gives us a super suave secret agent in Firth's Hart. With him comes all sorts of gadgetry and hidden tunnels, and the like. We also get a megalomaniacal villain with a physical malady in Jackson's Valentine. The malady being a severe lisp, by the way. Of course, his ultimate plan will affect the entire world. It's a brilliant plan, if you must know, but I'm not divulging any details. And I can't forget that his top henchman is actually a woman with prosthetic legs named Gazelle (Boutella). By legs I mean, they're basically swords. I'd be in love if she didn't scare me so much.

The second thing to know is that this movie takes its action very seriously. It's far more brutal than anything seen in a Bond flick, even the gritty Daniel Craig stuff. This is gory stuff on par with The Raid franchise. The trick is that it's done so gleefully, I couldn't help but have a blast watching it. It helps that I wasn't expecting anything of the sort when I sat down to watch Kingsman. I completely ignored the rating and just assumed it was another PG-13 action flick. After a few things I happened, involving those prosthetic "legs," I actually checked the rating on imdb.com and said "Oh." A few more things happened and I really got into it. Then, IT happened. Harry Hart walks into a church. By the time he walks out, I could do nothing other than applaud. I was in my living room, so it was okay. During this scene, my eyes giddily darted around the screen as all types of mayhem unfolded.


None of Kingsman would work without outstanding work by its performers. Colin Firth completely sells it as the super spy. He even handles the action scenes far better than I could have hoped for given what I knew of him as an actor prior to this. Mark Strong is great as the guy who trains all the candidates and the always great Michael Caine handles duties as the head of the Kingsman. Such movies often hinge on whether or not we have a great villain. Thanks to Samuel L. Jackson, we absolutely get one. He's funny, evil, brilliant, and even charming. Although Kingsman is clearly a riff on Bond flicks, Jackson is a far better bad guy than anything that franchise has served up in quite some time. Aside from the reasons I've already given, he is something recent Bond villains have failed to be: memorable.

Only one actor in the cast gave me pause. Unfortunately, that one is also the reason I have some reservations going forward even though I loved every minute of this movie. It's clearly set up so that Eggsy can be the protagonist in any sequels. However, I find Taron Egerton to be a bit on the bland side. He's not bad. He's just the person I became less and less interested in as the movie went along. He, nor the film itself, did anything to change that. Granted, it's a subplot to Hart trying to save the world, but the point remains. Eggsy eventually gets in on this action and its very fun, indeed. I'm just not sure I want a whole movie revolving around this character. Presumably, he would be much more on his own the next time around, also. A sequel without the names mentioned above just doesn't sound all that appealing. Then again, I put off seeing this because, really, how good could an action flick starring Colin Firth be? Damn good, it turns out. Damn good.

20 comments:

  1. I hope it comes on TV later this year as I do want to see this. Plus, I heard it has a kick-ass soundtrack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely see this as soon as possible.

      Delete
  2. Glad you liked this one. The church scene was awesome, very much the highlight of the movie. I never really thought about how Taron Egerton would pull off the sequel considering the slew of bigger names attached to this are now basically nonexistent. He hasn't established himself that much as an actor, and most of the memorable parts of the movie has something to do with either Colin Firth, or Samuel L. Jackson, and Sofia Boutella (her character is an awesome henchman). I just hope the sequel would be able to top what they did here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully, Egerton is better than we've seen and/or they'll find more big names to fill out the cast. Topping what they did here is going to be tough. And Gazelle is a better than awesome henchman.

      Delete
  3. I thought Egerton was good in his role, but your right about it being a bit iffy on him pulling off a sequel. I never thought about it that way. Maybe there will be more Mark Strong? I had a good time with this though, and hey things worked out for Eggsy in the (literal) end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping to be proven wrong. And lol on the (literal) end.

      Delete
  4. #$%^&*(*&^%$#$%^&*((*&^$#$%^&*(*&^%$#$%^&*(

    I need this movie to take me to church already! UGH!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only hope it hasn't been built up too much for you.

      Delete
  5. I really, really enjoyed this one for the first three-quarters or so, but the climax totally put me off. Once those heads starting, I could only see it as a massive tragedy. At that point, the film didn't seem to be in on the joke the way it was previously. It didn't sit right with me, and actually made me question my enjoyment of the rest of the film. I thought Colin Firth was great though, and Gazelle was quite the creation indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally get where you're coming from. Maybe that joke was a bit much, but I still laughed. I think it has something to do with the old idea that 1 death is a tragedy, 1000 deaths is a statistic. Watching it happen just didn't have the same weight as it might in another movie because of all that came before it. Not the best defense, I know, but it works for me.

      Delete
  6. This had a couple things I liked. Colin Firth, that Samuel L. Jackson was the villain and Mark Strong the off stage sort of good guy, nowadays those roles would normally be reversed and the look of the film. But I feel similarly to Daniel, I was good until they got to the church and then the picture lost me and never got me back and I ended up not liking it much at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The church scene is where it won me over completely. I can see it being overkill, liyerally, for some.

      Delete
  7. The church was the best part! The overkill was the whole point! Loved it. Loved it months ago in the theatre and can't wait to check it out again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Hey, what's your problem?"

    "I'm a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black, Jewish boyfirned, who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam."

    Pure. Frickin'. Genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When he said this first, my jaw hit the floor...then I laughed so hard it hurt.

      Delete
  9. Watching that church scene in the cinema was just incredible - so surprising too because 1. I never thought I'll see Firth in a scene like this 2. Vaughn made Layer Cake - which I hated - and Kick Ass - which is the worst movie I've seen so I was stunned I enjoyed it. I'm loving how many people seem to be liking this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just a blast to watch. And I never thought I would see Firth in anything like this, either.

      Delete
  10. 100% agree with you, Dell. I didn't even consider the bland nature of the kid, but it's a good point. And as you've mentioned, I'm not really looking forward to a movie with more of him. But at the end of the day, none of that matters because this damn movie was soooo much fun.

    And kind of dirty, too.

    ReplyDelete