Movie Reviews

Published on February 13th, 2015 | by gareth

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Kingsman: The Secret Service

When it was delayed from a planned October 2014 release to be placed against “50 Shades of Grey”, many worried that the new film “Kingsman: The Secret Service” was being relegated to nothing more than counter-programming by the studio. Thankfully the film is a hyper kinetic romp that gives audiences a new approach to the traditional spy film genre with a tongue in cheek approach.

The film revolves around a secret group of agents who take their operational names from the Knights of the Round Table. The organization was started by wealthy clothiers of London to make the world a better place, and since they operate outside the influence or control of any government, they have maintained a small but effective operational force for decades.

Following the loss of an operative, Galahad (Collin Firth), struggles to come to grips with being partially to blame for the death of his friend and trainee. Years later, Galahad recruits the son of the deceased agent, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), to train and join the ranks of The Kingsman. His working class upbringing rubs some of his more posh fellow trainees the wrong way, but Eggsy’s past scholastic and military skills are evident as he takes on the challenges of his highly-competitive and dangerous training.

At the same time, billionaire tech mogul Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), is hatching a diabolical plan to cull the population of the world to make those that are left more manageable and under his control. Facing a race against time to literally save the word, the Kingsman, new and old, must battle an army to save the day.

While the plot of the film follows what the James Bond series have long established, an evil person with an army of deadly henchmen under their control bent on destroying/conquering the world, this film takes it in a new direction. The action is fast and frantic but despite the R rated violence is never as gory or overly gratuitous as one may expect. The blood is actually restrained to smaller red spots and a splash here or there which is interesting given the large number of slicing, impalings, close range gunshots, and bladed weapons deployed in the film.

The plot does at times seem absurd and naturally there are tons of questions like why they would use their two new recruits rather than calling in more experienced agents in their current crisis for help. All that aside, the film has a wink-and-a- smile attitude as it unfolds, almost as if they were trying to tell the audience to just accept that parts of it will play as a parody on the genre so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

In the end the film has enough action and interesting characters to make it a fun, if flawed, romp and the cast is interesting enough that I am already hoping for future adventures for the Kingsman.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

 

Second Review by Joseph Saulnier

 

I have had so much to say about Kingsman: The Secret Service before I had the opportunity to screen it, and in the days since. But now as I sit down to write, I am not 100% sure how to begin. So let me tell you about the film while I gather my thoughts and figure out to express them.

 

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a member of a non-government affiliated, international espionage organization. They run out of a tailor shop front and simply seek to take down the baddies of the world. When another agent is killed, the organization scrambles to find his replacement, and to discover what happened to their fallen comrade. Hart, AKA Galahad, takes in young, streetwise Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton). As Eggsy attempts the infiltrate this literal Gentleman’s club, the Kingsman move closer to finding out the nefarious plot of our movies baddie, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).

 

You can tell right from second one that this is a Matthew Vaughn film. It’s sort of an homage to the classic 1950’s and 1960’s spy movies. Even down to the classic Bond portrayal of villains with a physical dysfunction. I have been describing it to people like this: Kingsman is to spy movies, what Kick-Ass is to superhero movies. And it makes sense, as they are both based on comics, and both directed by Vaughn. I knew going in that the film was based on a comic series, but I hadn’t realized how recent the series came into fruition. The series released in 2012, and here we are less than 3 short years later.

 

Another thing I knew going into the film is it’s weird to see Colin Firth in an action role. But he definitely pulled it off. Having never really done a fight scene prior to this movie, unless you count the time he punched Hugh Grant, it is very impressive that he did 80% of his own stunt work. Egerton is a relative unknown, but manages to charm the pants off of you every time he’s on screen. Also, Samuel L. Jackson surprises you in a role that you wouldn’t expect him, but he has you convinced he’s a megalomaniacal evil genius who cannot stand the sight of blood. Bringing up the rear with outstanding performances in supporting roles are Mark Strong as Merlin, and Michael Caine as Arthur.

 

Lots of blood. Lots of action. Over the top sequences. But wholly entertaining. Kingsman: The Secret Service has it all. Except a love story. I have to admit, I was a little relieved to see that they didn’t muck up a great movie with a romance story arch. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but it seems that they try to sneak one into every movie they can. I’m glad that they didn’t focus on that in this film, though they did plant some seeds for the future. The studios have high hopes for this film, with plans to turn it into a multi-movie franchise. Heh, they even have a “Kingsman” clothing line for the movie. I do so hope that it does well, because we need more stories from this world.

 

But the only way that is going to happen is if you get out to the theater to see it. I can’t think of a single reason why you shouldn’t. Seriously, I can’t think of anything I did not like about this movie. It is very clever in its humor, and eye catching with the action. The movie makes fun of itself, and there may be a few flaws, but it did not fall flat for me. Here it is folks. My first one ever, but Kingsman: The Secret Service is just speaking to me right now. It could be just the right alignment of the stars, the moon, the earth, and my mood. But I am giving this film a perfect rating! Now go see it!

 

5 out of 5 stars

 


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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