Matthew Vaughan’s KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
This is an odd but very entertaining movie. Somehow it manages to combine bits and pieces extracted from many major screen-based spy thrillers to create something fresh and inventive.
It’s all here: British class distinctions, an evil genius bent on world domination, deadly training exercises, spectacular action set pieces, evil genius’ mechanically-enhanced (and deadly) sidekick, gadgets up the wazoo (including deadly umbrellas and edge-of-space balloons), and Michael Caine, of course.
Despite much whimsy it manages to skirt tongue-in-cheek silliness while maintaining just enough engagement with the real world. Plus, the soundtrack is terrific.
What makes the movie really cook is Colin Firth’s performance as the serious but deadly master spy who plucks young Eggsy off the mean streets and introduces him to the crushingly deadly Kingsman training program. If his character doesn’t convince you to switch to “bespoke” suits nothing will.
None of it makes much sense if you really think about it but it’s quite a ride. Action wise it matches and occasionally even surpasses action sequences from recent Mission Impossible and Christopher Nolan films.
Why wasn’t it more successful at the box office here in the U.S.? Was it an underlying anti-American bias? Was it Samuel L. Jackson phoning in his performance as the evil Google-Glass-clone wearing villain? Maybe it’s the occasional segue from fantasy to gravity as major characters meet untimely ends?
Hard to say. Anyway, I like the occasional well-made roller coaster ride, especially one where the working class kid makes good. Plus, it’s a pleasure to see another major action film that doesn’t level a big city somewhere.
Check it out and prepare to crank up the sound; the bigger the screen the better. And be prepared to be amazed.
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald