Have you ever wondered 'what if they made an old-school James Bond movie that was rated R?' Well wonder no more because Kingsman is it, more or less. Imagine a proper old-school James Bond movie with the peculiar villains and the plots to take over the world, merge that with Kick Ass and that's Kingsman in a nutshell. I even feel like that's putting it a bit too mildly because Kingsman is a balls to the wall crazy, jauntily self referential and a daringly audacious spy/action romp. The plot is reminiscent of an old-school James Bond scheme as well, only it's more topical to our current era ie tackling global pollution and climate change.
Valentine (Samuel Jackson) devises a murderous, though not necessarily malicious, plan to eliminate most of the world's population in one fell swoop, and no, it doesn't involve nuclear warheads either. After the secret organization of gentleman spies, otherwise known as the 'Kingsman' lose one of their best agents in the field, they begin recruiting new prospects. This is where the debonair Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recruits the young and talented, but troubled Eggsy (Taron Egerton) into the clandestine organisation. As Harry and Eggsy uncover Valentine's diabolical plan to save the world via a massive cull, they find themselves up against a threat they've never encountered before, and one Eggsy may not be ready to handle, especially with Valentine's 'leggy and lethal' enforcer by his side. Samuel Jackson was clearly having a lot of fun with his villainous role, but his lisp bugged me, it seemed too forced and unnatural, it didn't grow on me. Valentine's right hand (wo)man Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) was mesmerizing, memorable and terrifically exciting as all good villains should be.
I never thought I'd say (type) these words, but Colin Firth did an absolutely incredible job as the more than capable gentleman spy, equal parts the classic British suave and charm, intimidating when he had to be, and more than proficient in handling himself when it comes to combat. I didn't think he had it in him, but boy was I wrong. The violence was delightfully over the top in a couple parts, but I didn't think there was too much violence or blood either. I thought there was a good balance, even though some people didn't like the church scene, but I thought it was brilliantly done. How can anyone watch that sequence and not be awed by it? The fight scenes were incredible, three in particular, but there's more to Kingsman than just some mind-blowing action too. I found there was also a surprising amount of heart in it as well as Harry mentors the young 'Eggsy' in the ways of becoming a gentleman, partly out of a sense of obligation and honor to do right by his fallen friend. The emotional beats were brief and few, but they were heavy and they were well-placed within the movie.
Despite the brilliantly energetic, vibrant and stylish feel Matthew Vaughn brought to Kingsman, it still felt like it hit a couple of bumps and slumps in the middle where the momentum was a bit sluggish in places and some of the character developments became a little too predictable. I think more emphasis should have been put on training the young recruits, because we're all led to believe that if we run a few miles and go parachuting then we'll suddenly acquire the combat skills of a world-class secret agent. I thought the ending could have used a bit more time too, maybe an extra five minutes to tie up all the loose ends and give us a better sense of closure. I would have liked to have seen Eggsy deal with his mothers abusive boyfriend, but all niggles aside, Kingsman was fun, exhilarating and a breath of fresh air in the PG dominated spy genre. It was such a refreshingly subversive and mordant spy movie that was more Bond than Bond, and a sequel's already on the way too, so sign me up!
Written by - The Sentry - 02/05/2015