Friday, August 28, 2015
Review: Villains Rule "Kingsman"
[This review first appeared on Patreon.]
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.K.
Running time: 129 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn
WRITERS: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (based on on the comic book, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons)
PRODUCERS: Adam Bohling, David Reid, and Matthew Vaughn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: George Richmond
EDITORS: Eddie Hamilton and Jon Harris
COMPOSERS: Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella, Sophie Cookson, Hanna Alstrom, Samantha Womack, Geoff Bell, and Mark Hamill
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2015 British spy movie and action-comedy from director Matthew Vaughn. It is based on the 2012 comic book, The Secret Service, by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, who are also both executive producers on the film. Millar co-created the comic book, Kick-Ass, and Gibbons co-created the Watchmen comic book. Kingsman: The Secret Service follows a street kid who is recruited into a secret spy organization.
Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in 1997 during a raid in the Middle East, in which an agent sacrifices himself to save his team. Feeling guilt, agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), code-named “Galahad,” visits the agent's wife and young son. Seventeen years later, Galahad comes to the rescue of the son, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), who is now an unemployed adult.
Galahad introduces Eggsy to the “Kingsman,” a secret intelligence agency comprised of the members of the British upper crust. Galahad convinces Eggsy to join the Kingsman's ultra-competitive training program, but only one member of a recruiting class will become a member of the Kingsman.
Meanwhile, billionaire tech genius, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), has hatched a plan to save the world from environmental catastrophe. His activities draw the attention of the Kingsman, especially Galahad. Because Galahad is his benefactor, Eggsy gets a close-up look of the Kingsman in action, but does this unrefined “street kid” have what it takes to be in this “secret service?”
As a spy movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service is more like some of the early James Bond movies, especially the ones that featured weird sci-fi gadgets. Or maybe Kingsman: The Secret Service is what would happen if Roger Moore's James Bond became the leader of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) of the old television series, “Mission: Impossible.”
I must admit to enjoying Kingsman: The Secret Service quite a bit, but it is mostly a substance-free past-time. As much as I enjoyed the film, I had mostly forgotten about it a few hours after seeing it. If I watched it again, I would only watch certain scenes – mostly the fight scenes, especially the ones featuring the blade-legged Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). There is not enough of her in this movie.
There are moments in Kingsman when it seems obvious to me that Colin Firth would make a good movie secret agent, not James Bond, but someone like Galahad. [Or maybe that can be said about most quality British male actors.] However, Samuel L. Jackson, as Valentine, seems to be the actor who most bought into the scenario. He and Boutella make a great team and do a lot to make Kingsman a good movie; I wish their characters could return.
On the other hand, Taron Egerton may be an up-and-coming, young British actor, but as Eggsy, he lacks spark and charisma. He is as flat as Sam Jackson is charismatic. Kingsman's concept and story is ridiculous and contrived, but fun. As the villain, Jackson is the one who most sells the movie, even more so than the actors playing the good guys.
A sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service has already been announced. As much as I enjoyed this movie, I can't imagine the sequel working without another great villainous pair like Jackson and Boutella. I hope they find one.
6 of 10
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
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