Fantastically over-the-top

Fantastically  over-the-top

Kingsman: The Secret Service
English, Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine

Kingsman: The Secret Service follows a story that is immediately recognisable as a plot by Mark Millar, the writer of the comic book this film is based on. A disenfranchised youth is recruited by a shadowy organisation, only to be exposed to fantastic amounts of gratuitous violence.

Like other stories by Millar, this film is basically the ultimate boy wish fulfillment fantasy: concealed weapons, ridiculously flamboyant fight scenes and damsels in distress. Of course the villain, who is aptly portrayed by Samuel L Jackson, has some kind of annoying tic to add to the psychopath personality. And in this case, it is an unforgettable lisp that is simultaneously scary and amusing.

Plot points are fairly predictable, with the saving of the world once again falling on the shoulders of an unlikely hero. There is a secret spy agency staffed entirely by stuffy English gentlemen, including Colin Firth and Michael Caine.

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protagonist is recommended by the former and must endure training, danger and some discrimination before embarking on his heroic mission. Ordinary things are often used for lethal intent, in a world where every shoe, umbrella or prosthetic could kill you at a moment’s notice. The body count racks way high really quickly, but the fight scenes are intricately choreographed and a delight to watch.

Particularly noteworthy is a fight at a church, set to Lynyrd Skynrd’s Free Bird (yes, the guitar solo). Firth, in his character of “kingsman” Harry Hart, plays this scene out with surprising perfection, reminiscent of the now-legendary Quicksilver scene from X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

Where this film shines through is the way it embraces the outrageous camp. There is a delightful scene where Hart discusses the finer points of spy movies with the villainous Valentine (Samuel Jackson) over McDonald’s burgers and fancy wine. It is all very meta. What it lacks in terms of emotional impact, or sanity, it more than makes up with the all the “whoa” moments. Kingsman: The Secret Service may not be art, but it is most definitely fun.

This film is very characteristically Mathew Vaughn and if you enjoy that particular brand of roller-coaster insanity, this one is definitely for you. If not, then watch it for all the lessons on being a gentleman spy and the exploding heads.

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