Colin Firth features his action side and Samuel L. Jackson shows his villainous side in the Matthew Vaughn-directed Kingsman: The Secret Service film that kicked off a spy-filled year at the cinemas. The amazing visuals, action sequences, and camerawork included filmmaking methods using an on-set film editor.
This film has heart, admirable morals, surprises, kinetic entertainment, and engaging characters that play off the spy genre with authentic realism and an engaging origin focus that keeps it from transforming into a spoof or frivolous work.
Inspired by the Mark Millar graphic novel, director Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) pulls all his talents into an impressive piece of entertainment. Kingsman: The Secret Service. Colin Firth stars as Harry Hart, a veteran agent who recruits Eggy, impressively played by Taron Egerton, who happens to be the son of a former agent. This basic relationship bridges past events in Harry’s life while Eggy’s training enlightens audiences on how Harry became who he is now – an amazing agent who gets the job done without losing his heart and soul.
Firth is amazingly impressive in the physical stuntwork, action sequences, and overall prowess at 52 years old. His Oscar-winning acting skills also add the necessary emotional weight to the action-filled plot. The powerful violence serves the plot and characters well.
Sofia Boutella is equally impressive with “killer” legs as a double amputee assassin Gazelle who yields blades instead of feet (character in the graphic novel was male; reportedly filmmakers initially considered Oscar Pistorius for the role at one point).
Jackson plays the baddie with bravado (and a lisp) as mogul Richmond Valentine who has a look echoing Russell Simmons. Valentine echoes familiar antagonistic traits while progressing further with elements like actually caring for and communicating with his “right-hand”, second-in-command teammate, Gazelle. Audience get a stronger connection to both characters because Valentine never treats her as an expendable, “last resort” shield, but a valuable teammate and companion.
Other co-stars include Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Vaughn film veteran Jason Flemyng, Jack Davenport, Sophie Cookson, and Mark Hamill (Star Wars) who plays scientist Dr. James Arnold. Strong brings some poignant emotion into the plot, especially when characters encounter extraordinary, high stakes circumstances. Audience get a solid sense of each character then watches as they show their true selves.
Two sequences can be especially shocking and a chosen location (not content (don’t read me wrong here), which is a different location from the original graphic novel source material) sours the film a bit and comes off as a judgmental element in the film where the worst of society is supposedly represented. Filmmakers give audiences fair warning of the most shocking sequence via Richmond Valentine’s dialogue.
In this film, audiences see bullet-proof designer-fashion suits, a lighter as a grenade, exploding silicon microchips, remote-activated poison pens, double-barrelled hand-pistols, a 50,000 volt electrified sovereign ring, augmented virtual reality spectacles, a bulletproof AR targeting system ammunition-firing black designer umbrella, shoes with poisoned neurotoxin pop-out blades, and super-spy smart watches which can fire sleep darts and magnetized bolas.
Gentlemen can also look the part with the exclusive Kingsman: Secret Service menswear line from Mr. Porter complete with 60 pieces and accessories that include briefcases, eyewear, footwear, pocket squares, umbrellas, and watches like the almost $25,000 Bremont ALT1-WT/WH World Timer Automatic Chronograph Watch.
The musical score soundtrack keeps the action going while the pop culture references run rampant. Even the Bourne and James Bond films are mentioned along with the Get Smart television series.
Want to live by the Kingmen’s rules? Here they are:
(1) A gentleman never tells about conquests, private matters, or dealings. His business is nobody else’s.
(2) A gentleman doesn’t clash in public with enemies or exes, or worse, with out-of-fashion contrasts, colors or styles.
(3) A gentleman is always happy to serve, whether it’s opening the door, picking up the bill, or merely calling a cab the next morning. Ask him for help and he cannot refuse.
(4) A gentleman never reacts to rudeness. He pretends he doesn’t recognize it and moves on like it never happened, because it never should have.
(5) A gentleman is always on target with witty remarks, interesting facts, and conversation starters that bring the best out of everyone.
(6) A gentleman asks non-invasive questions to keep a conversation going and attention focused on others. He makes them feel like the most interesting person he’s ever met, whether that’s true or not.
This memorable 129-minute action film is recommended (*** out of four) and is rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content. A sequel is currently planned and will be successful if the same filmmakers are involved and spend as much time on the project as this comprehensive work.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler