Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Release: Friday, February 13, 2015

[Theater]

Written by: Matthew Vaughn; Jane Goldman

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Thuffering thuccotash, itth Thamuel L. Jackthon! Again!

For those bothering to thtick with me through this review, be advised that one of the most prolific black actors of all time is the height of the appeal of Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s also a thymptom of a dithappointing outing.

I know, I know. I’m pushing it a little bit here, but I don’t think I’m being any more offensive than Jackson. The man — and give him credit, he does work hard (so does his agent!) — is difficult to get over when he’s the only one trying to stand out in this mildly-amusing riff on the irreverent James Bond franchise. It’s a film with bigger plans, even, attempting to capitalize on the silliness that the casual observer associates with the spy genre, but in an ironic twist the fun devolves into a farcical spoof of itself in the final half hour. However, that’s not the issue at large.

It’s not that Colin Firth (that’s actually not a lisp, thank you very much) tries too hard playing Sean Connery-lite, clean-shaven and with a swagger perhaps more consistent than Jackson’s butchered pronunciations of the letter ’s.’ Firth is good here, his own amusement apparent in the way he parades across the screen, umbrella in hand, treading a tricky line between sophistication and aloofness. As Harry Hart, code-named something hilarious — oh, I don’t know, say ‘Galahad’ — Firth is cool and confident, even especially under pressure. He’s a spy who’s experienced his fair share of whoopsie-daisies working for a boutique secret service agency tucked away in the back of a posh clothing store. One downfall of being in this profession is seen at the film’s open when a fellow agent is killed by a grenade, or something.

It’s not that the emotional heft of the film strays into sentimentality so far that the overriding story makes little sense. Harry/Galahad finds it his duty to help a wayward youth named Gary (a.k.a. ‘Eggsy’), the son of the fallen Kingsman, avoid a life of crime and hardship on the streets (the upturned ball cap and padded jacket pegs Taron Egerton as a rude-boy in-the-making) by drafting him into the secret service. It’s better to walk into the path of a stray bullet as a youngster than die an old and miserable sad-sack, amiright?

It’s not that Jackson parodies the speaking-impaired until the bitter end, nor the fact that Gazelle (Sofia Boutella)’s legs are an odd choice for villainous material. It is refreshing seeing someone not play up a lack of legs as a disability, though. I don’t take the racism, fear-mongering and general hatred towards all of mankind as a sign either. Kingsman suffers from tonal shifts — one moment it’s all fun and games; the next we hear racist/homophobic slurs delivered with no other purpose than to inject some shock value, as if we need to have any more reason to cheer on Harry/Galahad — but these are aspects one can get over in a hurry if they’re intent on switching off their brain and enjoying a good showdown (or ten).

No, what’s most offensive about Kingsman is that despite its few quirks and charms — the chemistry between Firth and Egerton is undeniable, while Big Macs make for an exquisite, product-placement-friendly dinner with the villain — is the genericness. As a send-up of the spy genre, this mostly falls into disarray. To reiterate, the only thing the movie manages to send-up is the Q-branch and maybe Thamuel L. Jackthon.

In between extended moments of interminable blandness, Matthew Vaughn’s wannabe-James Bond occasionally finds moments of inspired lunacy and Jackson is admittedly hilarious. This was the most fun I’ve had in a movie that seems to like stealing ideas from others. Maybe the ultimate issue is that the most vivid memory I have of this film is a speech impediment. Either way, there’s a lot here that blows Kingsman‘s cover, but I believe Matthew Vaughn really was on to something here.

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2-5Recommendation: Can I call this movie boring? No. Can I call it dumb? Yes. Can I call it inspired? Mehhhhhhyesss . . . ? It’s an amalgam of James Bond with soft-core thriller material. It doesn’t have enough going for it to be that memorable yet this movie has proven to be very popular. Who knows. I’m probably off on this one. If you haven’t seen it already, you’re likely better off by not listening to me and seeing it for yourself. Wouldn’t be the first time on this blog that that’s happened! 😉

Rated: R

Running Time: 129 mins.

Quoted: “This whisky is amazing. You will shit.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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42 thoughts on “Kingsman: The Secret Service

  1. …Is it weird that I actually really, really liked this one? I can’t help admiring that it just…went for it. Hahaha. I mean, that chick with the blade legs, Colin Firth beating the crap out of people in that church scene, all the exploding heads…I don’t know, man. I had a freaking blast. Lol. Sorry this wasn’t your thing, bud! Er–I mean, thorry. 😉 Great review!

  2. So unsure about this one. It looks like something I’d enjoy (definitely something my father would enjoy), but I’m not sure I’d be bothered going to see it, get me? I think after reading this I’ll maybe wait for DVD. Nicely done as always, Tom.

  3. I enjoyed this film….until I didn’t. The tone was way off. That church scene was where the narrative went from lighthearted fun and turned into a heavy handed misfire. What a shame. When the one girl that survives the genocide begs to get f–d in the a– I wasn’t laughing.

    • Great point about that part. I was shocked the ending of the film ended on a rather crude sex joke. That part kind of matched the hate speech in the church. There was lots of good action in here but even those parts kind of seemed generic and the more I think about it the less I believed Colin Firth in this kind of role. I don’t think he’s really my kind of actor in all honesty.

      We pretty much see eye-to-eye on Kingsman! 🙂

  4. Nice write-up Tom, enjoyed reading! I’ve been in two minds about going to see this but I’ve decided to get a ticket and will check it tomorrow. If the lithp ith the motht memorable athpect I’m not holding out too much hope.

    • With any luck you’ll find thomthing to cheer for here. Itth a pretty entreating flick for the motht part, but theriously. Thith lithp was the motht memorable part. Lol. I’m seriously overdoing that. I need to stop. . .

  5. Good, fun review! I’ll probably still give this a whirl when it’s out on video, it sounds kind of fun even if the silliness is giving me second thoughts. If it’s anything like the first Kick-Ass in terms of tone and humour, I might just like it. 😀

    • I still need to see Kick Ass actually! Thanks for the reminder there. And I appreciate the kind words Eddie. Thanks for coming on by again

  6. Great review. Wasn’t a fan of the film. Too silly for my tastes and I stopped caring after Firth left. Jackson was so annoying but, to me, he always is (except in Pulp Fiction).

  7. Sounds like this one just didn’t hit the right spot for you, which sucks. I really, really enjoyed it myself, though. I loved the hyper-violent approach to an old school James Bond-esque story, and that church scene was just too fucking awesome. Thamuel L. Jackthon was a great villain too because he wasn’t so much scary as he was hilariously insane. Great review, per always!

    • Thanks Ryan! Yeah I had some fun with it for sure but it fell apart for me really quickly at the end and I couldn’t buy into the silly humor for most of the time. It kind of has a confused identity. Is it trying to be James Bond or its own thing? I’m not really sure.

  8. Nice review bro. I just can’t get myself jazzed for this one. At first it looked slightly appealing but over time I’ve grown numb to it. Just doesn’t attract me at all.

    • Cheers man, yeah it’s nothing to really get overly hyped about. Might make for a decent Friday/Saturday night rental though. 🙂

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