Review: Kingsman – Secret Service

Matthew Vaughn continues his comic book adaptations after Kick Ass and X-Men: First Classwith this bloodied, tongue-in-cheek British spy action movie.

A smart British youth who has found himself in hard times after the death of his father, but when an agent of a secret organisation requests he join the service he, and the other young trainees, might be the only ones able to stop a maniac millionaire’s evil plans.

It took me a long time to finally see Kingsman: Secret Service, but it appears to have a lot of staying power here in the UK mostly because of its star-studded supporting cast and Vaughn’s directorial hand. With Michael Cane, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson you’d swear you were watching something extremely prominent, but as always Matthew Vaughn brings his classic sense of humour and style to the proceedings, making what might have been a by-the-numbers spy caper a lot more fun and enjoyable.

I cannot say I hadn’t seen any of this before. The lengthy training montage of wise-cracking youths at a grand English manor is straight from Vaughn’s superior First Class, dozens of homages to James Bond movies (though justified and often the movie is self-aware of these) such as a secret underground shuttle car system, tonnes of gadgets and snowy mountaintop retreats. Cane, Jackson and Firth are honestly playing the same characters they have been playing for years. Although I did greatly enjoy the villainous Samuel L Jackson’s lisp.
There are some strange inconsistencies and bad continuity throughout, such as one of the opening scenes seeing a masked soldier killed only for a follow up shot to have his mask removed so we could see his face. No one had removed it. Or our villain, Valentine, being violently allergic to the sight of blood but has a henchwoman who’s signature weapons are blades. She can cleave a man in half, yet after having done so… there’s conveniently no massive pool of blood?

I don’t know why I feel the need to be hard on the film; the action sequences were awesome! The fight choreography, editing and timing around the battles were exceptional and eye popping, I never thought I would see Colin Firth being such a bad ass. As I’ve mentioned already Matthew Vaughn’s style is strong, the score reminded me of First Class and there’s some great music choice. Colourful cinematography and lighting make everything pop and the dialogue can be very witty.

It is good fun, and an easy way to spend a couple of hours. The pacing was strong, the story wasn’t taxing or laborious at any point, nothing was wrong with the film. I guess I just wasn’t expecting such a prolonged training theme and maybe more unique characters from our actors (the exception being Mark Strong’s character) ultimately making it very enjoyable but somewhat forgettable.

Additional Marshmallows: I also turn in my Film Buff badge for not recognising MARK HAMILL in this film! 

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