Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Bloody Good Fun

Maybe you’ve seen trailers for Kingsman: The Secret Service and didn’t know exactly what to think. Understandable. On the one hand, director Matthew Vaughn has turned in better than average fare like Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. On the other, release date changes and those vague, underwhelming trailers might scare this off your radar and into a future Netflix queue. Resist those fears, because Kingsman is a crazy, subversive adult cartoon come completely to life. Vaughn’s film is brutal, bloody fun and has a wit both cool and cruel. Knowing and playing with Bond archetypes throughout, our secret agents versus global villain story gets an Ian-Fleming-on-acid overhaul with style and flair for days.

Eggsy (newcomer Taron Egerton) begins our story as an army dropout, content with grabbing beers with his mates and a life of petty crime. He meets Harry (Colin Firth), who tells him his dad was a Kingsman in training who gave his life to save Harry’s years ago. The Kingsmen, you see, are a secret order of noblemen tasked to protect crown and colony from all it’s enemies. Their members are given code names derived from Arthurian knights. Harry, known as Galahad to his fellow Kingsmen, offers to mentor Eggsy in the ways of this noble spy order. Eggsy agrees, and the training begins.

No secret agent film is complete without a super villain bent on world domination, and ours is Samuel L. Jackson. With a Mike Tyson lisp and Russell Simmons wardrobe, Jackson is Valentine, a billionaire environmentalist intent on ridding the earth of pesky globe-warming humans. He sells elitists around the globe on his plan, while battling Galahad and the boys along the way. Oh, did we mention Valentine dines on only the finest of McDonald’s fare and gets queasy at the sight of violence? Jackson hasn’t been this gleefully fun to watch onscreen in a very long time.

Violent action ensues throughout, especially a scene in a church that is truly jaw-dropping in its celebration of mayhem. You have not experienced Colin Firth like this before, and won’t soon forget it. This is definitely adult fare, but Vaughn rides that edge of unseemliness with such subversive abandon that you can’t help but have fun with it. A henchman uses razor legs to bisect a man, an umbrella doubles as a room-clearing war machine, and the princess of Sweden offers her crown jewel as a reward for rescue. What’s not to like?

When the inevitable climactic showdown happens, the payoff doesn’t disappoint. Violent deaths explode like fireworks (literally), and our hero shoots and stabs his way through dozens of baddies (maybe a little too tediously at this point in the film) to get to Valentine for a grand comeuppance. Kingsman: The Secret Service hits most of the right secret buttons on its array of bloody Bond spy gadgetry to leave viewers smiling and satisfied.

By Adam Easterling