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Kingsman: The Secret Service: Lock, Stock and Many Exploding Heads

February 18, 2015

kingsman movie poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service plays like Trading Places, Nikita, Pretty Woman and My Fair Lady met Kick-Ass and spawned a James Bond film. It is gleefully subversive, über risky and features the greatest lisp ever. Director Mathew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class) brings a confidence and passion that allow the film to be insanely violent and always likable.

You can tell that Vaughn loves spy films and wanted to make one of his own. He wisely re-teamed with Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar and they adapted his graphic novel for the screen. Kingsman has passion project written all over it and you can see the joy on the screen. I am happy to see Vaughn back in form after his work for hire stuff on X-Men: First Class. His work on First Class was fine but the film lacked The Vaughn energy that I had become accustomed to. The energy is back as he infuses Kingsman with an appreciation of whiskey, pugs, metal legs and huge guns.

kingsman

Kingsman has a hybrid style all its own. One minute we get a man being cut in half then the next we get a joke about mistaking a pug for a bulldog. I love Daniel Craig’s Bond films and The Bourne series but they’ve gone the route of dour dramatics with a penchant for wasting 50-year-old Macallan. What Kingsman does is bring the fun back into spying and creates a blue-collar vibe to a posh world. When you leave the theater who will want to eat McDonalds and drink fine scotch.

The best thing about Kingsman is that it is full of surprises. You never know where the film is going and it makes you laugh, gasp and wonder how a film featuring a church congregation killing each other received only an R-rating. Sam Jackson is a ball of insanity as he lisps, pukes and plans on world domination. I love his death via sim card plan and the carnage he creates feels taken out of a bizarro James Bond plot. Kingsman is a James Bond written by one of the characters from Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Vaughn produced both).

The supporting cast is fantastic as Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella and Mark Hamill add a neat layer to the spy world. I love that Strong wasn’t the bad guy and his tutoring of the young Kingsman hopefuls is a highlight of the film. Taron Egerton adds a ruffian edge to an eventual super spy and I liked how his character bounced between wide-eyed student and street smart car thief. His bonding with Firth creates a neat father figure type relationship that gives the film an emotional heft.

Kingsman Colin Firth

Kingsman does a great job of world building and is primed for a sequel. So many films are instantly forgettable while Kingsman remains burnt in your memory. It ends with a hilarious play on Bond hijinks and it so audacious you want to see more. Vaughn and Millar did a fantastic job of giving us a new world and I am glad that audiences are appreciating the insanity.

Watch The Kingsman. Appreciate the mayhem. Hope for more.

 

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    March 3, 2015 12:28 pm

    I heard it was like if The Bourne Identity and Shoot Em Up conceived a child in the back seat of a Camaro.

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