Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson…
Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and now Kingsman: The Secret Service. Matthew Vaughn seldom, if ever, directs a poor movie. Kingsman is yet another Vaughn adaptation of a Mark Millar original comic book series. Before this film, the two of them collaborated on the brilliantly violent, funny and incredibly tongue-in-cheek ‘kind-of’ superhero film Kick-Ass, and Kingsman keeps much of the same tone which made Kick-Ass so fantastically refreshing.
However instead of poking fun at the ridiculous slew of superhero movies which Hollywood are now in the business of making, Vaughn and Millar opted to do their take on a Bond-like spy movie, which is utterly and unashamedly British and brilliant.
Kingsman follows the tale of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose life is given new meaning when a series of events lead him to Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Hart, who works for a very secret spy organisation called Kingsman, recognises potential in the youth and recruits him to be a trainee in this secret service. Meanwhile, tech mogul and multi-billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who’s a mixture of Bond villain and Steve Jobs, launches his rather twisted plan to solve the problem of climate change through the means of a worldwide killing spree.
Watching Kingsman will not fail to put a smile on your face. If Matthew Vaughn does one thing better than most, it’s directing fun, in-your-face and slightly rude action films. He knows his audience and caters to them very well indeed. Another thing he does incredibly well is casting. Casting Colin Firth as an extremely smartly dressed Bond-like super spy, posing as a Saville Row tailor, was a stroke of genius. He is perfect in the role and has some really stand out action scenes, especially the ones in the pub and the church, watch out for those scenes, they are something special.
The action scenes are perfectly directed and excellently choreographed. They play out like a dance, each punch and kick leading perfectly into the next. The church scene is definitely one of the stand out action scenes and probably one of Colin Firth’s best onscreen moments, certainly one of his most memorable.
Kingsman also marks a star turning performance for Taron Egerton who is perfect as the foul mouthed, yet smart, resourceful and genuinely gifted Eggsy. He delivers his lines perfectly and the transformation he goes trough in this film is utterly believable. He oozes a certain charisma onscreen. Watch out for him, he is defiantly a star of the future.
Moreover, Samuel L. Jackson’s lisping Richmond Valentine is a fun take on a Bond villain, and wonderfully self-referential, which is definitely one of the film’s strong points. He is funny, as well as being somewhat threatening. He is assisted by blade running, slicing and dicing hench-woman Gazelle, who is fantastically portrayed by Sofia Boutella and has some stand out fight scenes of her own – she’s very good at slicing bodies in half, vertically. There is also a brilliant cameo from none other than Luke Skywalker and the true voice of the Joker himself, Mark Hamill, in which he delivers a note-perfect British accent.
If there’s one problem with Kingsman it’s that it does lag somewhat in the middle and there is a slight problem with a joke at the end of the film which feels slightly misjudged.
However, apart from a few missteps, Kingsman is a solid, fun, funny and enjoyable action film which is a good way to spend 2 hours of your life. If you are a fan of Matthew Vaughn’s previous work and Mark Millar’s wonderful source material, Kingsman will not disappoint.