After last week’s double-feature fiasco of “Jupiter Ascending” and “Seventh Son,” it is reassuring to know someone out there knows out to make an action-adventure movie that’s stylish and fun.
That someone is director Matthew Vaughn and the film in question is “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” It’s a spy movie spoof that’s heavy on style, quirkiness and violence.
“Kingsman” is based on the comic book “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Vaughn had previously adapted another Millar comic for the screen, “Kick-Ass.” If you’re familiar with “Kick-Ass” and Millar’s other comic-turned-movie “Wanted,” then you should know what to expect.
Colin Firth stars as Harry Hart, a member of The Kingsmen — a secret organization that works to protect the world from the forces of evil. It’s a private group that answers to no government.
The force of evil he’s dealing with this go-around is a wealthy eccentric named Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). Valentine is worried about overpopulation and climate change. To fix things, he’s going to wipe out a large portion of the population through their cellphones by sending a signal through the phones’ SIM cards which causes people to go berserk.
While putting his plan in motion, Kingsmen agent Lancelot (Jack Davenport) is killed by Valentine’s top assistant Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). This leaves an opening for a new Kingsman and each Kingsman is required to bring in one recruit to fill the void.
Hart chooses Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the son of a former Kingsman, to be his recruit. Eggsy has the raw talent but is unmotivated and unfocused. He and the other recruits are put through the wringer by Merlin (Mark Strong). In the end, the new Kingsman with either be Eggsy or Roxy (Sophie Cookson). But both may be needed to thwart Valentine’s scheme.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is subversive, over-the-top crazy and always entertaining. The extreme violence will be a turn-off for some but if you don’t mind that it’s well worth your time.
Colin Firth isn’t the first name in action heroes but he pulls it off here with gusto, all the while keeping his proper English persona. Jackson, on the other hand, is a bit too cartoonish — especially when speaking with an embarrassing lisp.
The movie is filled with clever bits and twists and turns. Some of the twists are unexpected, some are not. I was hoping they wouldn’t go in the direction they did with Michael Caine’s character, since it has become so boringly predictable.
Otherwise the film is pretty smart and the action sequences are excellent. Vaughn has figured out how to film a fast-paced, hectic fight scene without using the nausea-inducing shaky cam. There’s a long, impressive, out-of-control fight scene in a church that is clear to follow despite so much going on at once.