One word: Spy-tastic. “Kingsman: The Secret Service“, by far, is one of the best spy movies we’ve ever seen. Makes no bones about it. Think James Bond, or Jason Bourne and heck, even Jason Bauer. These international super spies have their own strengths and weaknesses but when you create a character based on the 3 J.B.s, you get Harry Hart a.k.a Galahad, a gentleman spy portrayed by Colin Firth. It’s an unexpected role for the 54-year-old actor but Firth managed to pull off some complicated stunts in the movie. Armed with a suave sense of style and uber-cool gadgets, Firth perfectly embodies the quintessential British gentleman manners with his particular set of skills.
But trust Samuel L. Jackson when he flat-out says, “This ain’t that kind of movie.”
In literal sense, it is a “Kick-Ass” reunion for the comic book creator Mark Millar as he reunited with director Matthew Vaughn and scriptwriter Jane Goldman to turn his comic into a movie. While paying homage to the classic spy films, director Matthew Vaughn isn’t afraid to poke fun at the traditional 007 formula of the Roger Moore or Sean Connery era.
One fine example of this is the sequence with one of Hart’s compatriots, Lancelot (played by Jack Davenport) attempting to rescue Professor James Arnold (played by Mark Hamill), a climate scientist who gets kidnapped by unknown assailants.
After Lancelot single-handedly wiped out his opponents, he strikes a classic pose of Sean Connery as James Bond holding a gun beside his face. It’s not entirely a parody yet it’s fun to watch this on screen. One may think Davenport would have a much bigger role in the movie but his appearance is rather short-lived. Gazelle (played by Sofia Boutella), an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs (which is really cool), literally “cuts” him out of the mission before he can even rescue Arnold.
This forces Kingsman, a secret intelligence agency overseen by Arthur (played by Michael Caine), to employ a new agent from a slew of young candidates. But first, these candidates must participate in “the most dangerous job interview in the world”, which Gary “Eggsy” Unwin was clearly unaware of.
Portrayed by Taron Egerton, Eggsy is a young candidate chosen by agent Galahad/Harry Hart to apply for a job interview in an underground network of spies and secret agents. Despite being a Hollywood newcomer, Egerton delivers a believable performance as an unemployed young adult who gets himself into troubles due to his aimless life.. He was initially given the opportunity to train for the Royal Marines but turns down the offer so that he can protect his mother and infant half-sister from his abusive stepfather. Although he is a capable young man with intelligence inherited from his father, one of Galahad’s former colleagues, he is later arrested for stealing a car.
However, one single phone call changes his life forever as Galahad arranges for his release and decides to take him under his wing. He joins other candidates in training to become the next Lancelot. Merlin (played by Mark Strong), a senior Kingsman oversees the training and candidates will be eliminated if they weren’t able to pass the tests given. The training mainly serves as an origin story for Eggsy as it shows how he rises from the bottom to the top. Thus, despite being a central character, Galahad is given more attention as he goes on a mission alone to investigate internet billionaire Richmond Valentine’s (played by Samuel L. Jackson) connection with the disappearances of politicians and celebrities (yes, including Iggy Azalea).
The director defies viewers’ expectations by having Samuel L. Jackson play a villain who can’t stand violence. With his ridiculous lisp and hip-hop attitude, Valentine looks nothing like any villain we’ve seen in typical Bond movies. Believe it or not, he would even puke at the sight of blood, which is why his henchwoman Gazelle does all the dirty work for him. He may lack the typical villain’s attitude, but he’s got a plan that would make him as menacing as the other villains.
After recovering from a bombing injury, Galahad poses as a billionaire to dine with Valentine. In order to solve the world’s global warming and populations, Valentine explains to Galahad that he is assembling a number of world’s influential figures (or the people he thinks worth saving) including Professor Arnold to “save” them from his plan to “solve” the overpopulation problem.
As boring as the plan sounds, what follows after is a series of ultra-violent events. Valentine conducts a test by broadcasting a signal in an obscure hate group church in Kentucky, the one that causes everyone including Galahad to become uncontrollably violent. Truth be told, the church fight scene is the most satisfying fight scene we’ve ever seen in recent years. It’s mostly because the scene doesn’t involve any shaky cam and it was creatively staged with impressive stunts.
Firth is given a few tongue-in-cheek lines before he finds himself in the mass church brawl. The consecutive sequences are taken in a single camera and the scene shows how Firth is able to deliver most of the stunt scenes perfectly. If all else fails, this scene alone could be the only reason why people need to watch this movie. As blood and guts are spurting everywhere, some may find it slightly uncomfortable. But then again, it’s a R-rated movie so that shouldn’t be a big deal for viewers.
After an unexpected twist of events, Eggsy teams up with Merlin and Roxy to overthrow Valentine’s plan. The time has come for Eggsy to prove himself as a trustworthy agent for Kingsman but will he succeed in his mission of saving the world? That’s for you to find out when you watch “Kingsman: The Secret Service”.
Now, clearly “spy-tastic” isn’t enough to describe how well shot this movie was so if we were to describe this movie in one complete sentence, it’ll probably sound like this:
This ain’t that kind of movie.
Oh yes, welcome to the club, everyone.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is rated R and opens nationwide on 18th February 2015.
(Image source: Digital Trend)