Movie Review: ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’

Fun, exciting spy thriller erupts into laughs


Academy Award winner Colin Firth (for 2010’s “The King’s Speech) impressively leads this light-hearted and quite enjoyable spy thriller as British agent Harry Hart, opposite world Internet antagonist Richmond Valentine—portrayed good-naturedly by Samuel L. Jackson. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a fun and entertaining action-packed spoof presented as an alternative to the more thought-provoking, stuffy spy genres such as the James Bond and Jason Bourne classics.

After slightly drawn out and timid opening scenes, Director Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”, “X-Men: First Class”) smartly moves this adaption from the Mark Millar comic book series to a feverish and, often, hilarious pace–leaving no type of lethal hand-to-hand combat skills unused. A large part of this movie’s success is due to infusion of raw, young talent from Englishman Taron Egerton, who plays the wannabe spy learning from his amiable, yet soft-spoken mentor–Firth’s Agent Hart. The generational gap between these two, combined with their teacher-pupil relationship, offers the audience pure enjoyment as the secretive “Kingsman” torch gets passed down to Egerton’s untested “Eggsy” character.

Kingsman2Egerton’s admirable performance as “Eggsy” keeps up nicely with a stalwart cast that, besides Firth and Jackson, includes six-time Oscar nominated (winning twice) Michael Caine and Mark Strong from last year’s “The Imitation Game”. Sexy Sofia Boutella, the Algerian-French actress/dancer more recognizable as the Nike Girl in television ads, teams up with Jackson’s lisping rogue billionaire villain to bring harm to our planet. Rounding out the film’s exceptional line-up is none other than Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker—Mark Hamill—in a small cameo as Professor James Arnold.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a highly satisfying, over-the-top explosion of fun as good defeats evil in the world. Using excessive, mindless violence to the point of comic relief takes “Kingsman” to the edge of satire, stopping just short of ridicule towards the weightier spy films. This movie works because director Vaughn never takes the characters or the script too seriously or disparages the clandestine profession. Vaughn even offers several hat-tips to the Bond legacy, paying proper homage with references and ensuring the spy always gets the girl. After all, “Manners maketh man”.

Grade: B+

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.  The running time is 2 hours and 8 minutes.


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