Kingsman: The Secret Service
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn
RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes
Meanwhile, celebrities and ministers, rapper Azealia Banks and a Nordic princess are disappearing. Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service (based on Mark Millar’s comic) flaunts its zany plot that grows from a simple notion: The suit is the modern man’s armour.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is picked up from a police station, where he’s being held for committing petty crimes, and taken straight under the wing of the gallant Galahad (Colin Firth) of Kingsman, a secret service modelled after King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table that operates out of a bespoke suit tailor shop. Galahad sits in an office with red walls, decorated with the front pages of The Sun from days he did something remarkable that went unnoticed by the world. On one of those days, “Brad Pitt ate my sandwich”.
Eggsy has, of course, never met a tailor in his life. He’s never seen Trading Places or La Femme Nikita or Pretty Woman. He lives in a cramped social housing apartment with his mother and an abusive stepfather. That is, until he’s thrown in with a bunch of Oxbridge-don’t-you-know-who-my-father-is types, with whom he trains and competes. Eggsy himself has been recruited because of the deeds of his father. The crew lives in a bunker, each taking care of a puppy — Eggsy picks a brooding pug because he it would grow into a fierce bulldog.
The ingredients of the film are common and routine. The characters have been tried. There are Martinis. Even the gadgets are familiar: a poison pen, a lighter grenade, microchips implanted in the back of the neck. Yet Kingsman is testament that outrageous spy spoofs can be entertaining and gripping, that clichés can be done right.
This pastiche child of James Bond and Quentin Tarantino is brash and boisterous, fun and energetic.
It is taut and playful, with just the right amount of self-awareness. Firth carries the film — it’s s a treat to watch him get into a pub brawl in his refined suit after being interrupted from finishing his pint, to see him stake a priest and split a woman’s head open with an axe in a Catholic church in rural America.
Absurdity is key. Galahad and Valentine talk about James Bond films. Valentine serves Big Macs on a plate and washes it down with aged wine. The female characters are, of course, negligible — it is an homage to spy films and action movies, after all.
But please, it’s 2015.