- Movie Rating -

The Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

| February 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

It may someday come to pass that when I get around to making a list of the best action movies I’ve ever seen, The Kingsman: The Secret Service may find itself right there in the midst of other greats like Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Speed, Aliens and The Terminator. After the blight of a worthless movie like Taken 3, here is the kind of action picture I’ve been hungry for, a whip-smart, clever movie that goes where the James Bond pictures won’t dare and turns out the kind of cheeky British humor that the ill-fated Avengers adaptation a decade ago aspired to be.

What is contained here is based on a comic book that, I’ll admit, has completely escaped me. Maybe that’s a good thing, I’m of the opinion that the best way to experience this film is to go in (as I did) completely cold. From here I must get into the plot, so if you want to stop here and pick it up once you’ve seen it, I’ll understand. At any rate, The Kingsman are an underground espionage agency modeled after King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – even going so far as to use Lancelot and Galahad as code names – their leader is, of course, Arthur (Michael Caine). Housed in an ordinary-looking Savile Row tailor shop, the group operates outside the will of the Queen or the government. So, much like the Men in Black, they remain invisible.

The rule of The Kingsman is that when one of their agents is killed in action, the process of recruiting a replacement is set in motion. That comes courtesy of an opening scene in which one of their agent is killed in the line of duty while trying to rescue a kidnapped scientist (Mark Hamill) setting off the hunt for a replacement which falls into the hands of agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) whose code name is Galahad. He puts the offer to a street punk named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who lives at home with his mom and abusive stepdad and is in desperate need of a direction in life. He’s also the son of a fallen Kingsman agent, so Harry figures he’s got the blood for it. During training, the other more well-to-do young recruits snicker at this kid from the slums until he shows that he’s adept after several training sequences like the one in which their barracks is flooded at night, and later they are forced to skydive only to be informed that one of them is packing fatally light.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a spy movie without a diabolical plot. That comes courtesy of a goofball American megalomaniac named Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, sporting a lisp) who offers up the technology of tomorrow with the fervor of Steve Jobs. He was formerly dedicated to saving the environment, but discovered that human beings were the problem and is set on offering a cell phone app that will remove that threat all-together by triggering the rage center of our brains. Harry discovers this while attending a redneck church in which the congregation goes completely berserk leading to the film’s best scene – an absolutely brilliant ten minutes of pure balletic slaughter as Harry destroys the entire congregation with whatever is handy.  It’s beautifully put-together scene that deserves comparison with some of the best action scenes in movie history.

The Kingsman: The Secret Service is the kind of movie that a breath of fresh air after all the carbon copies, dead serious retreads and half-baked crime movies. Here’s is a movie that references other action movies without winking to the camera and one-ups all the basic clichés of a James Bond picture, up to and including the scene in which Harry has dinner with the villain, and the two trade on their desire to live the life they’ve seen in all the spy movies, James Bond and otherwise.  Valentine even comes equipped with a Bond-like henchman, a gorgeous but deadly Algerian assassin named Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) whose weapon of choice are a pair of razor sharp prosthetic blades.

It is hard to really put this movie into words.  It’s something that must be experienced – and I can only hope that in the midst of the fury over the dull-as-dirt Fifty Shades of Grey that audiences will discover this little gem.  It’s the kind of movie that’s just plain fun.  It’s very funny and also amazingly adept at action scenes that you can’t say you’ve seen before.  There is no run-of-the-mill here.  It is at once a comedy, and then it’s a perfect action movie, set to the tune of the kind of very British tone that we Americans have been in love with since “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” was imported in the 70s.  It is directed by Matthew Vaughn, whose pen has been responsible for some of the better X-Men pictures.  He and his writing partner Jane Goldman obviously had a ball putting this movie together.  They’ve created a fun movie, a great comedy, a great action movie that gets rolling, keeps it’s eye on the road, and doesn’t stop for anything.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2015) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized