I sat down to watch The Kingsman: The Secret Service expecting a well intentioned mess but what I got is one of the most interesting and entertaining British film I have seen in many years. And funny… this film is very funny. And very violent… the ultra violence is everywhere in this film.
In a nutshell, The Kingsman is about a young, but bright, street-thug called Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who struggles to be inducted into a secret spy agency full of upper-class gentlemen.
One of those gentlemen is Harry Hart, played by Colin ‘every English woman loves me’ Firth. Now let me say this, Colin Firth could have been Bond – a very good Bond. I say this because he is absolutely brilliant in this film. He is charming, funny, charismatic and you believe that he is a bloody dangerous spy. Colin Firth has a hip-hop swagger in this film and that makes me happy.
Samuel L Jackson is also in this movie and he does what he was born to do – play the charismatic villain. Here is the thing, Jackson is great in this film as Valentine – a technology company CEO – but it all felt rehashed. I feel like I have seen Sam do that character before in another film – which is fine – I just wanted him to show me something new.
At face value, you can write this film off for being a case of style overpowering the substance, but that is unfair. I think there is a lot of substance for people to chew over. The film makes a statement about class in the UK, how overly dependent we all are on technology and how corrupt powerful people are. So, I don’t accept for a minute that this is a shallow film, it’s just that those messages are buried under a lot of style. As familiar as Samuel L Jackson’s character was, even he was multi-layered – yes he is a murdering lunatic – but I was sympathetic to his ideas on the causes of our planet’s ill health.
But there is a lot of style to this film – and that really isn’t a bad thing. This film feels like a very explicit (yup, I’m mentioning it again) Bond film. I am not talking about the gritty Bond of today, I’m talking the Roger Moore and Sean Connery Bond. Its action set-pieces have that grand Bond feel to them and the comedy has that naughty British cheek to it. I have seen movies in the past that have tried to invoke past era’s of cinema but you can tell that they didn’t commit 10o per cent, but that is not the case here.
It is that commitment to style which brings the only real problem I had with the film – pace. This film just didn’t slow down and that was a problem for me in the middle act. I started to lose interest a little because the pace was still so frantic. Although I got over this problem fairly quickly – I just hope they solve this in the sequel.
There better be a sequel because I feel like they have the makings of something very special here. This could be the fearless British spy film series we deserve – a series that doesn’t have to cater to it’s past traditions. A series that can take risks and be as rude and as violent as it wants to be.