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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

KINGSMAN

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Matthew Vaughn (screenplay)
Stars: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine

With Kingsman: The Golden Circle coming out this September I thought I would go back and rewatch “The Secret Service” which is now 3 years old (where did the time go)

A quick recap sees Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin played by Taron Egerton being taken under the wing of Harry Hart played by Colin Firth who is a spy for the British Secret Service with assistance from Arthur (Michael Caine) and (Merlin) Mark Strong who up against the villainous lisping Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who although hates the sight of blood and gore holds a vision of mass biological warfare through…….SIM CARDS??? Stay with us.

Kingsman pays homage to the James Bond films rather than parodying it in the style of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Based on the Mark Millar comic book littered with hid creative quirkiness and with Vaughn’s film-making, has left a stylised-spectacle of ultra-violence much in the same fashion as their other successful franchise “Kick-Ass”.

Fans of Bond and Kick-Ass are certain to love it, as through rollercoasters of action, comedy and espionage. Just like the colourful, gadget ridden Bond films of the 1960’s (always the best bit about spy films are the gadgets) Kingsman is very fun to watch, with ‘wham, bam, thank-you ma’am’ style of mayhem, one- liners and a stylish soundtrack all over it.

Portraying the lead character of ‘Eggsy’, Taron Egerton  who proves to be an outstanding actor as he brings the character to life with an energising vibe of a comparing ethic of a housing estate lifestyle against the english gentleman’s class. I previously reviewed Egerton’s performance in the Eddie the Eagle movie and again for such a young actor oozes confidence in the role he portrays and isn’t fazed working alongside established actors like Firth, Jackson or Caine and was exactly the same in his screen time with Hugh Jackman in Eddie the Eagle movie.

Alongside, and tackling the mentor, come father type role, is Colin Firth, who based on previous filmography alone could easily be classed as the U.K.’s most typecast actor (well probably apart from Hugh Grant). Until now, Firth was at the top of every romantic film directors list and comes along Kingsmen: The Secret Service and the mould is broken as he is lethal with most weapons, his fighting style is convincing and his sharp wit shines throughout the movie. Not to sound negative towards Firth as credit must go to the writers and the choreographers for taking the “blandness” out of the actor. But it’s down to Firth at the end of the day on how he delivers the character and he absolutely nails every scene.

‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ contains some very memorable characters and the three standouts has to be Samuel L. Jackson, who is clearly having the time of his life as lisping villain Valentine and you can tell he is enjoying playing the villain once more with a very dark and nasty humour you can’t help even just for a moment you hope he wins the day (as if).

Michael Caine very much like ‘Now You See Me’ has very limited screen time and perhaps is correct for the role in the movie as Arthur who is overseeing the Secret Services missions but doesn’t have really much to do other than show his presence in some of the crucial moments as a somewhat ambiguous sort of character.

Mark Strong who comes across as a likeable guy plays Merlin who I think is attempting a Scottish Accent in the movie is basically Kingsman’s “Q” Strong who I thought did a terrific job in Kick-Ass as  Frank D’Amico and as Jim Prideaux in the 2011 remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) I felt was a little under used. Unlike Caine’s role that agreed with deserved the amount of screen time. I felt the character of Merlin could have been explored a little more and there appeared to be great chemistry in the limited screen time between Strong and Egerton. Although with the upcoming sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” perhaps that is the reason Strong had limited screen time for the relationship between Harry and Gary to blossom and just maybe this film was just to set him up for a bigger role in the sequel.

Kingsman: The Secret Service marks the third film in a row that director Matthew Vaughn has adapted from a comic book background. His two previous being Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011) that were both excellent films and in the case of the later is one of my favourite X-Men films. The thing about Kingsman is that the James Bond influence present and the graphic but yet stylishly shot violence that was also present in Vaughn’s previous movie Kick-Ass, this film not only pays respect to the old spy films of yesteryear and takes the spy genre, and mixes in the superhero and hi-tech elements with some east end of London elements from his earlier productions like “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and with “Kingsman” actually managed to create something even more fantastic, but also comes into it’s own to become a classic for the future in my opinion and hope there is more Vaughn ‘Kingsman’ films coming.

Ultimately “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a good film and overall I think the makers of the movie thought very carefully with how each scene connected and flowed together and the fight scenes that were very well choreographed. Even though some scenes in particular were quite predictable I thought that the combination of the film makers trying not to hard to be too humorous but still being funny and the fluidity was just right. I’m looking forward to viewing the sequel later this year to see where we go with ‘Eggsy’ and no doubt like most sequels we will see Vaughn upping the ante. Highly recommend.

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