Editor’s Note: This review contains some alerted spoilers.
Having watched Kingsman: The Secret Service at the Gulbenkian a few days ago, I would like to mention that I now rank Matthew Vaughn, the film’s director, to be in my top five favourite current directors, alongside Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino. And before you get your knickers in a twist, note that this is a list of my personal ‘favourites’ rather than ‘best’ current directors. Well, that’s a list for some other time.
Back to the film. Kingsman is a spy action comedy; a genre that certainly seems to be lacking lately. It is also based on a comic book created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, entitled The Secret Service.
The film follows teenager Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) who is recruited by veteran Kingsman-agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) to join the agency and, along the way, help save the world from eco-terrorist Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). Sounds clichéd and generic?
Amazingly, it’s the exact opposite.
If you were to describe Kingsman in one word, it would be ‘fun’. Like all his previous films, which include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Kick-Ass, this film simply gushes with Vaughn’s trademark style. I’m talking balls to the walls, a slow-mo / fast-forward action combination with ridiculously outlandish stunts and scenes filled with blood splatters, high-pitched screams and severed limbs. Mix all this together with witty dialogue in English? / Irish? / Cockney? accents, and you might just be able to achieve one fifth of Kingsman’s awesomeness.
Let’s move on to the acting, shall we?
*Minor spoiler alert*
Mark Hamill is in this film. As a professor who gets his head bashed in.
Yes, I’m serious, he makes a cameo in the film. Oh, you mean the thing about his head getting bashed in? Nah, I was just messing with ya.
It actually gets blown up.
Fun fact: In the original comic book, Mark Hamill stars as himself, answering questions about, you guessed it, Star Wars. The film version is pretty similar, but no Mark Hamill and Star Wars discussion, which is a bummer.
Lots of slick action though, including an ultra-smooth switch of hands with a glass of whiskey.
As for Colin Firth, I just have one thing to say – The King of England is pretty badass. Weapons of choice: bulletproof missile-launcher umbrella, lighter grenade, and hidden knife concealed in the heel of the left shoe that pops out when both heels are clicked together. Impeccably dressed, of course. Watch out for the church scene. You’ll understand when you watch the film.
Moving on to Samuel L. Jackson’s character. What a lisp. What a villain. What a bizarre taste in clothes. Hmm. He sounds strangely familiar. Oh wait…..
And last but not least, relatively unknown Welsh actor Taron Egerton. He definitely won’t be unknown after his role in this film, I’m telling you right now.
Now, I’ll be brutally honest. Most actors or actresses who play teenagers in films kinda, well, suck. For example, Logan Lerman, Michael B. Jordan, Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Emma Wats-
KIDDING. Don’t kill me. They’re all great actors. But they are the few exceptions. And trust me, Taron Egerton is EXCEPTIONAL in Kingsman. Also, Sofia Boutella is flexibly amazing as Gazelle, a female amputee with prosthetic legs. Correction. A female amputee killer with bladed prosthetic legs.
That reason alone should make you want to watch this freaking film.
One last line – Manners maketh man. Do you know what that means? Then let me teach you a lesson.
It means go watch Kingsman: The Secret Service. Two reminders in five sentences. This is serious.