The spy genre takes a ride to the circus
Calling Kingsman: The Secret Service a cheeky film would be a severe understatement. From the opening shots of continuous exploding debris that transforms into opening credits to the cathartic violence and gore that’s definitely love letters to past influences, Kingsman is not afraid to go balls deep into parodying the cheeky stereotypes of the action and spy genre. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring a mostly British cast with the obvious exception, Kingsman: The Secret Service is probably the most ridiculous spy film you’ve seen all year. And we’re all the more better for it.
The films revolves around the organisation known as Kingsman, a rich tailor shop turned covert spy agency that is not shackled by any governments in protecting our free world. Seasoned veteran agent Harry Hart aka Galahad (Colin Firth) sets out to find young hooligan recruit: Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) and helps him become a gentlemen. Michael Caine plays Hart’s boss: Chester King aka Arthur overlooking this entire operation while the agency’s recruiter: Merlin (Mark Strong) trains young Eggsy and other candidates to become professional field agents. Needless to say, something bad is going down. The most American villain in mankind played by Samuel L Jackson seeks to use his philanthropy to incite the world into chaos with the help of his lady sidekick: Gazelle played by Sofia Boutella. As the clock ticks, our heroes initiate.
What a joy to see a film that takes the self-aware approach in telling this story. There’ll be homages to other spy films, stylistic choices that clearly makes fun of itself for the viewer’s pleasure and a load of curse words for your grandma. The humour in this film has obvious Tarantino and Bond inspirations along with sharp and intelligent wit, which makes some very clever references to real world content like NLP, the Star Wars Project and Chinese spies. All of this compliments the actors, displaying them as really enjoying their roles and characters.
The action scenes should be applauded for its campy and cheerful style that makes everyone look comfortable, unique and really, really happy to be there… It also adds to the comedic value where you see the stunt choreography go very ‘flexible’ in adapting to its environment while also claiming gory glory like a fusion between Jackie Chan and Tarantino. Regardless, it’s unique, upbeat and joyful fighting to behold that will stay in your mind long after the credits are due.
It’s definitely no perfect film. The plot felt uneven sometimes especially in pace while certain characters lack meaningful development. Eggsy makes a lady friend whose a fellow candidate in the training course named Roxy played by Sophie Cookson. Whilst a great performance, the script didn’t give her much other than to be a plot device. There really was a lot of ambition put into this film and its not all smooth fitting.
Regardless, this is one spy film that is pure entertainment. It doesn’t try to be the next Pulp Fiction or Die Hard but it does want to establish a persona of its own and boy does it succeed. Artistically, the filmmakers do ignore some bits in order to keep that unique style going but overall this is film that should be watched if you enjoy action and comedy. I hope there’s a sequel!
Kingsman: The Secret Service is now available on Digital HD, and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 1 July 2015.