Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

2:11 PM

I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service Tuesday night at the Curzon theatre in Mayfair in London. I watched the film with a gin & tonic, which is a cinema-going novelty for me, and I suddenly imagined that many by-gone viewings might have been better enjoyed with such a fabulous inclusion. Unfortunately this time, it wasn't enough to save KingsmanJust as the scruffy thirtysomething straining to reach his Mountain Dew over an encumbering belly imagines himself superior based solely on the gentle tip of his fedora, so does Kingsman demand to be taken classily, without offering much in return.

The men who comprise the Kingsmen are the epitome of British sophistication and style. The gents are a breed of Bond-esque intelligencers, with unlimited funding, Arthurian aliases, and a penchant for recruiting wayward teens as their next superspy extraordinaire. Colin Firth takes centre stage as Galahad, one of the Kingsman ringleaders, and mentor to rough-around-the-edges Eggsy (Taron Egerton). Mark Strong, Jack Davenport and Michael Caine follow suit as Merlin, Lancelot, and Arthur, respectively. Under the sneaking suspicion that this might be a vehicle for every acclaimed British actor who's ever graced the silver screen, I found myself wondering when the hell Dame Judi would pop up. Alas, she's holed up with Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy (i.e. the rest of Britain's acting elite) at the Best Exotic. 

In 1997, under Harry Hart i.e. Galahad's supervision, an erroneous error leads to the death of a young Kingsman. That poor young Kingsman, as Galahad would soon find out, was father to a little boy named Eggsy. In the present-day, the Kingsman are again down one man, and looking for recruits and Eggsy is a perfect candidate, despite his lack of intelligencia or skills in combat (oh but it makes sense because of the brief display of parkour and a fleeting mention of gymnastics prowess as a pre-teen). And Valentine is the resident bad guy, played by a lisping Samuel L. Jackson, who has a superevil half-baked scheme to cut down on 99.99% of Earth's population. Enter the Kingsmen; the men (and one lone woman) under no particular governing authority and who invoke the services of still-spotted teens, who take it upon themselves to dethrone those most hell-bent on world domination. 

Serpentine plot thrown to the wayside, Kingsman is enormously enjoyable in explosive moments of combat that are equally extremely violent, as they are extraordinarily well choreographed. Matthew Vaughn no doubt has some skill in that area, with (far superior) movies like X-Men: First Class, and Kick-Ass to his name. Samuel L. as well provides some much-needed comedy in the wake of some pretty lame attempts at humour. One scene for example, has the kidnapped Queen of Denmark asks a gleeful Eggsy "do you want to put it in my bum?". Terrible graphics likewise don't do Kingsman any favours, but then, with such wide acclaim across the board, I wonder if I'm missing some mysterious key that will unlock the movie's hidden magic. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
dir. Matthew Vaughn 
Starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson
129 minutes | UK

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