Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) Review:

Manners maketh movies.

Best scene in the film.
Best scene in the film.

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Runtime: 129 minutes

Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson, et al…

Plot (taken from IMDb): A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a riot. From to beginning to end, this film is pure, unadulterated fun. Boasting an impressive cast involving old favourites such as Colin Firth (Harry Hart), Samuel L. Jackson (Valentine) and Michael Caine (Arthur) as well as introducing us to starlets Taron Egerton (Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin) and Sophie Cookson (Roxy) – this mixture of old and new provides us with a breath of fresh air, despite the film’s obvious throwbacks to James Bond and countless other spy movies.

Indeed, Kingsman could be considered a parody of the spy movie, spoofing lines from James Bond – but I think it is more of a love-letter to the genre, a violent, foul-mouthed love letter. It is no wonder then that this film is brought to you by the same guys that gave us Kick-Ass – being based on a Mark Millar graphic novel and brought onto the screen by Matthew Vaughn.

Hi, you may know me from Pulp Fiction.
Hi, you may know me from Pulp Fiction.

One can see the similarities instantly with Kingsman to Kick-Ass, in its violent, frenetic presence, but there is also some sweetness in with the bloodshed – a couple of more tender moments do well to humanise the otherwise ridiculous and over-the-top nature of the film. This is all neatly handled with some good direction, and a plot that never gets confusing – the film contains a strong amount of substance, and never gets bogged down in any area of its storytelling.

Indeed, the script largely maintains a high standard, but towards the end there are some dubious lines thrown out there, particularly by Mark Strong’s character (Merlin). However, the ending of the film is most certainly not a let-down, containing some great action scenes thrown in with some awesome special-effects; believe me when I tell you you’ll like the ending.

The action in the film is a joy to behold – the choreographers and effects team did a wonderful job. If you’re worried that Kingsman is too violent however, you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t… quite. There is a large amount of fairly gruesome violence but it is handled with such comic aplomb that quite frankly you may not even notice it – and it never quite moves into the extreme violence categories that fill the lower end of the cinema.

Ooh, explodey.
Ooh, explodey.

Kingsman truly succeeds in almost every area, including the acting; Taron Egerton and Colin Firth in particular are fantastic throughout sharing a great chemistry with a great eye for comic timing. Although, Mark Strong cannot do a great Scottish accent – I don’t know why his character just wasn’t Scottish it would have saved us from some awkward acting.

“But where are the negatives?” I hear faintly in the distance. “Here” says I. The only real negatives I can think of are mostly passable, but I do think that when the film decides to go into some hacking nonsense (you’ll know what I mean if you have seen it or when you do) it falters. Not all of the jokes are great either, but there is more than enough humour present in the film. I don’t think Colin Firth gets enough screen time either, as he is not really that present during the training scenes, which I feel could have been cut down a little to create a leaner film.

Summary:

Kingsman: The Secret Service is full of neat nods to the spy genre and the films, TV shows and books that have preceded it, and then throws blood on them. Its action scenes are great fun, and the effects are quite stunning at times. Unfortunately the plot feels a little over-done on occasion, the length of the film is a little bloated and for the life of me, I don’t understand why Mark Strong does a dodgy Scottish accent. However, you will have fun with this film – lots of it.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a blast from start to finish.

87/100

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