Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

kingsmanthesecretservice_2014_poster
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
  • Time: 129 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Jack Davenport, Mark Strong

Storyline:

Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

12 reviews

  • The new age of British spy films has arrived, move over 007, the Kingman are here. Based on the graphic novel The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Secret Service is about a veteran secret agent of the Kingsman, who recruits a young upstart to fill the void of a recently deceased member. The best way to describe Kingsman: The Scecret Service, is James Bond meets Kick-Ass.

    If there was ever a way to make the spy genre feel fresh and original, Kingsman has achieved it. They are not your typical spy heroes and they do not face their typical villains. From the characters to villainous plot, it is all brought to the modern era and made completely relatable to its audience. For fans of the graphic novel, it does alter quite a bit, with most of the characters being removed, changed or renamed. Without giving too much away, fans of The Secret Service will enjoy the small role Mark Hamill (Star Wars: Original Trilogy) plays in the film (read the graphic novel to find out why).

    Kingsman has a fantastic cast, not only do they show how reliable veteran actors are at putting in a great and memorable performance. It also shows that names aren’t everything, as…
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  • I can not imagine someone that doesn’t have a favourite spy movie film or franchise; Bond, Bourne Mission Impossible, Agent Cody Banks (ok not that one), everybody has at least one spy movie that they love. Director Matthew Vaughn clearly had this in mind when devising his latest spy homage, based on Mark Miller’s comic book, Kingsmen: The Secret Service. When you take Colin Firth as a suave sophisticated secret agent, add him with Samuel L. Jackson as a psychotic, yet strangely hemophobic (not a typo) villain, you would think that the end result would be freaking badass. With that being said, does Kingsmen live up to it’s classic espionage lineage?

    Kingsmen: The Secret Service follows Harry Hart (played by Colin Firth) and his chosen student named Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton). Hart intends for Eggsy to become a fellow Kingsmen agent, however other agents have brought in their nominees and only one can be chosen. When a tech genius named Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals a brand new technological marvel to the world, Eggsy and Hart must find out his true intentions before the end of civilisation as we know it!

    First and foremost my favourite thing about this film is the film’s rising star, Taron Egerton. While you would almost certainly think that Jackson and Firth would steal every scene, Egerton not only holds his own but he often overshadows them, especially in the second half of the film. Egerton shows a great character metamorphosis throughout the film, without actually changing the character that much. He goes from irritable London chav to super spy, but it’s still very obviously the same character. He is one of the only likeable lead characters in cinema right now, and he oozes charm and swagger in every scene, much to the enjoyment of the audience. A great all-round performance for the newcomer!

    With that being said however, the cast in this film as a whole are brilliant! Firth and Jackson are the remaining MVP’s of this movie. Firth plays the classic Bond-esque role with the greatest of ease, but with the highly violent and exaggerated nature of the film, it is clearly a chance for him to do something different whilst having the time of his life. He kicks ass, makes the classic quotable quips whilst still providing a strong father figure to Eggsy. Jackson is less comfortable in his role but he still gives the part his all and becomes a perfectly convincing, yet not fully realised villain. However with every great villain usually comes an even better henchmen, Sofia Boutella is blessed with the coolest role in the film from an action standpoint as Valentine’s bodyguard Gazelle. The double leg amputee with razor sharp feet utilises her limitation to limb hacking and head piercing effect, with some of the most original kills I’ve seen in a long time. Mark Hamill has a great cameo role, Michael Caine is excellent in his brief time on screen and Mark Strong is fantastic as always in the role of Merlin, the Kingsmen test runner and tech machine.

    Some of Vaughn’s cinematography is great, but the action scenes do sometimes get away from him with the longer shots. During some long tracking shots, the shaky-cam is utilised well, however on a number of occasions it does go a little too long and the shakes do get distracting once or twice. The action scenes on the whole are awesome to watch, with some super inventive umbrella related takedowns and some fantastic gunplay that would make the biggest Bond fan proud. The pacing is well done, with the Kingsmen student testing sequences being some of the action packed highlights of the film.

    The script is excellent, with some very quotable lines from most of the characters, especially Egerton’s Eggsy. The script does what all the classic spy movies were known for, balances the humour with the action and drama, though when push comes to shove, Kingsmen is exceedingly funny. With a keen and obvious self awareness of other spy films, Kingsmen is clearly not only paying homage but acknowledging the far-fetched plots as well. This 100% applies to this film as it’s plot really is far-fetched and totally unbelievable. However, in a world where spy movies and thriller are all based in some sort of ‘grounded realism’, this approach is more than welcome.

    Overall Kingsmen is a great fun flick for spy fans and lovers of action/comedy movies. It may not be remotely believable or original, the story may not add up and have a few plot holes, the villain may be a completely unbelievable character, the story may seem completely bonkers and everything just may not add up, but Matthew Vaughn’s secret agent flick is a hilarious, ridiculous-in-the-best-way, action packed joyride for people who are fans of the classic spy movie formula and are maybe a little tired of the modern ‘realistic’ thriller.

    Kingsmen: The Secret Service is 100% shaken, 0% stirred.

    8/10

  • Matthew Vaughn has achieved critical and commercial accolades in recent years for his entertaining adaptations of cult comics and graphic novels. His previous efforts, X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass, are smart, often employ good humour, build upon pop-culture knowledge and contain good action buoyed by heavy CGI use. The violence used in Vaughn’s films is prominent, and his approach is extra-ordinary, so much so that it’s brutality can clearly be considered an integral part of his style. This is perhaps the main feature that will separate Kingsman from it’s contemporaries in the soon-to-be crowded spy-comedy sub-genre.

    In recent years adaptations of comics like Kingsman: The Secret Service have become commonplace, mind-numbingly so. There are the success stories and cult hits like Men In Black, Road to Perdition, Kick-Ass, Sin City, Scott Pilgrim, 300, but more often are the forgotten and ill-conceived such as The Losers, 30 Days of Night, Wanted, Surrogates, Red, The Rundown. But Kingsman will be remembered for some time. It’s smart, sweary, violent, and loyally devoted to modernising and stylising classic spy films, particularly Bond, of course, with a an eye for comedy and reference. Vaughn has stated that he was influenced by the manner Indiana Jones was made for modern audiences and hoped to achieve a similar effect.

    Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is a young cocky troublemaker living with his Mum and her gangster boyfriend in a poor flat complex in London. After getting into trouble with the police, he uses a code and phone number imprinted on his medallion, the only memento from his father who died mysteriously when Eggsy was a toddler, to bail himself out. Doing so Eggsy unintentionally summons Harry Hart, a.k.a Galahad, a smartly dressed man who declares himself to be a tailor and informs Eggsy that his father saved his life. Hart then recruits Eggsy into the Kingsman program, a modern day melding of the Knights of the Round Table with the flair and resources of Ian Fleming’s famous espionage firm. Meanwhile, an eccentric billionaire communications mogul and his assistant (sporting sword-like leg prostethics) begin to kidnap prominent scientists and world leaders while simultaneously unveiling a new free mobile and network, which draws the attention of the Kingsman.

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  • Quickie Review:

    After the loss of an agent the Kingsman spy organisation start a recruitment process to find a replacement. Harry Hart codenamed Galahad (Colin Firth) believes that a street kid named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has the potential to be a fellow Kingsman. Meanwhile billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) has plans for worldwide domination that could cost billions of lives. Kingsman is mindblowing, nay, it is mindblasting fun. Director Matthew Vaughn, brings us another comic book movie that is not only well made but reinvents the spy genre with clever satire. This is a throwback to the classic bond films, but with all crazy violence and beautiful action of Kick-Ass. Watch this movie unless you hate having a good time.

    Full Review:

    I will confess that when I first saw the trailer for Kingsman I thought it looked a little campy. Then I heard Matthew Vaughn was directing and instantly all my doubts disappeared. This man has proven that he can take a genre that has been done to death and reinvigorate with new life. Kingsman is exactly that.

    In this day and age, dark and gritty tones are all the craze when making an action movie. That’s fine when done well but most of the time it forces all personality out of the film. Kingsman on the other hand is an homage to old spy movies, filled with crazy gadgets, eccentric villain, intimidating henchman (henchwoman in this case), and of course a wacky plan for world supremacy. This type of film in the wrong hands would definitely have been cheesier than hot pot full of fondue. However, the movie is fully aware of what it is and with the help of some satirical comedy it is able to get away with the absurdity. Then there are the action sequences that were gruesome pieces of art. Best of which was the fight scene at the church. The insane choreography with probably one of the longest chain kills in cinema made my jaw drop. I would pay full ticket price for that scene alone.

    Colin Firth is the perfect gentleman, sophisticated, well dressed, with just the right amount of mystery. But if you get on his bad side, good luck because he is going knock yours and half dozen other people’s teeth out without breaking a sweat. Taron Egerton is a newcomer to Hollywood but I have a feeling he is bound for more. He plays a character that is clearly a street delinquent, but you can tell deep down he is kind hearted. He transforms himself inspired by Firth’s character, and by the end of the movie you are cheering him on with every punch and pull of the trigger. A movie is only as good as its villain, and Samuel L. Jackson was a great villain. He is an internet billionaire genius in his 60’s who wears clothes like a teenage hip-hop artist, and plans to kill billions of people but can’t stand the sight of blood. What? And yet he is having so much fun playing this character that you can’t help but laugh with him.

    With Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and now Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn for me has become the best comic book movie director out there right now. Funny dialogue (occasionally inappropriate but no harm done), amazingly choreographed violent action, and memorable characters helped revitalise an entire genre with a modern twist. An endlessly fun adventure that I will definitely experience multiple times in cinema.

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  • Kingsman: The Secret Service- Today’s spy movies feature too much goriness and unneeded intensity that the final product always turns out generically the same and adds nothing to the genre. To put it simply, they have no style. Kingsman: The Secret Service, I am very happy to say, is an exception. Stylish is the best way to describe this movie. It is the best spy film I have seen since Casino Royale. It is a breathe of fresh air to see a movie that perfectly balances action and comedy together. It is more like the Pierce Brosnan Bond films and in my opinion, those were the most enjoyable. With great action, witty humor, and great performances from the whole cast, Kingsman: The Secret Service is the most enjoyable film of the year so far.

    Is it perfect? No. No film is ever perfect. The only flaw I could see though was some of the action sequences seem really far-fetched and hard to believe. I believe this is on purpose though. This is the quintessence of why kids want to be super-spys when they grow up. It so much fun and the spies always seem to do it with what today would be called “swag.”

    The best aspect of the movie was, no matter what it was doing, it was doing it with style. It added something to the genre. Even though it didn’t hold back on violence, it didn’t focus on it and that was a huge difference in making it stand out from the other spy thrillers of the past. Everything going on in the film was so much fun. The action they did, no matter if a guy was getting cut in half or one guy was taking on a platoon of bad guys, no one ever had to turn away because it was never too much violence, it was just enough. The director, Matthew Vaughn, said this movie was in part a tribute to the old Bond films. He definitely did them an honor.

    The acting and action were both equally the best parts of this movie. Colin Firth by far had an incredible performance as the suave, badass Kingsman Harry “Galahad” Hart. No one could’ve played his part better.

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  • A giddy ode to the British spy genre, Kingsman: The Secret Service is an endlessly entertaining comedic actioner that positions itself as Bond’s more irreverent and rambunctious younger brother. This is not your father’s Bond film, director Matthew Vaughn and longtime screenwriting partner Jane Goldman consistently assert, but it is in so many ways whilst tricking itself out in the latest cinematic technology has on offer.

    Bond is its main touchstone, but Bond wasn’t the only British born and bred spy romping through the landscape of the Sixties and Seventies. Think of John Steed with his trusty brolly or the more working class Harry Palmer with his black, thick-rimmed glasses. The brolly and glasses get resurrected for Kingsman as does Michael Caine, Mr. Harry Palmer himself. Caine plays Chester King, codename Arthur, the leader of Kingsman, a well-funded secret intelligence agency devoid of any government ties that models itself on the Round Table. Its agent are modern day knights, impeccably armoured in envy-inducing bespoke suits.

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  • Tony Barton

    Secret Service Agent, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), visits the wife of a fallen agent, with a view to presenting her with a bravery medal. However, she is not feeling very sociable and snaps at him, which results in Hart giving the medal to her son Eggsy (Alex Nicolov). Hart points out a phone number engraved on the back of the medal an tells Eggsy mother to use it and tells her the coded message she should use.

    The movie then jumps some seventeen years, and sees another agent, Lancelot(Jack Davenport), killed by a female assassin known as Gazelle(Sofia Boutella), who works for the billionaire (Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson). Meanwhile, Eggsy (Taron Egarton) is finding life hard, living with his mother, young half sister and nasty stepfather.

    Despite having many qualities, Eggsy feels disillusioned and opts out of his training with the Royal Marines. He ends up being arrested for car theft and rings the number on his medal, which finds him being released. Standing outside the police station is Hart, who invites Eggsy to a local pub for a drink. Hart tells Gary about a secret organisation known as Kingsman that he and Egsy’s father worked for. Hart informs Eggsy that Kingsman have a vacancy for a new agent to fill the space left by Lancelot. After dispatching several thugs with his umbrella, Hart takes Eggsy to their training headquarters, where he is greeted by Merlin (Mark Strong) and several other potential candidates. Eggsy fails his final test, which results in him leaving Kingsman and a girl named Roxy (Sophie Cookson), being made a fully fledged agent. However, Eggsy returns to Kingsman and discovers the leader Arthur (Michael Caine, as been secretly working for Valentine. Eggsy, together with Roxy and Merlin, then feel obliged to go and shake things up at Valentines secret hide out.

    The Kingsman is an action movie directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick Ass, X Men: First Class, Stardust). The movie takes you into a gadget filled make believe secret service organisation. The sets are quite impressive as are the weapons and gadgets. The movie will undoubtedly appeal to the fan of the Bond movie.

  • Bill Thobaben

    The Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a comic book and it looks it. There is violence, sad stuff, more violence, some humour, some violence, a joke or two, some extended violence mixed in with snobbery, humour, some real violence, the humourous violence, and then, some one-on-one violence, and it ends. The humour is British and it almost earns the second U, but I’ll use it to it anyway. I haven’t really given anything away. Oh, and I enjoyed the movie.
    Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn have created a screenplay that is riddled with clichés but admits to it. It’s based on a comic book and the movie looks like it from beginning to end. The story is filled with logic holes that are just glossed over, usually with humour, and not entirely believable characters. As a director, Vaughn has kept it moving so you don’t have time to think about the logic. When something is glossed over, it’s done so quickly that you might miss it, unless you’re an adult or something like that.
    The best part of the movie is the characters and that’s because of the actors who play them. Mark Hamill plays a mousy Professor Arnold with just the right confusion. Mark Strong is the technical arm of the Kingsmen, using the code name Merlin, and he looks as if he actually knows how to do what he does. Michael Caine bring some gravitas to the movie with his character, the leader of the Kingsmen, code named Arthur. I don’t think he stood up once although in one scene he was in a different room. Colin Firth plays agent Harry Hart, code named Galahad, with a little more depth, but it was more fun watching him in the elaborately choreographed fight scenes. I’m not certain what Samuel L. Jackson was doing with his character, Valentine, who has a serious speech impediment and a phobia about blood. I can only assume this came from the comic book as it smacks of a comic book villain. Jackson plays it with consistency all the way through no matter what the situation is.
    The hero of the movie is Eggsy played by Taron Egerton. He actually looked younger at the beginning of the film than he did at the end. His maturity during the film was well grounded and not obvious until it was already there. If this movie does become a franchise, he is the one to watch.
    I give this movie 2 1/2 cigarette lighters out of 4, recommended but with reservations. Kingsman: The Secret Service depends too much on clichés and comic book conventions, but it’s well done and funny with bits and pieces coming up that were not anticipated. If there is a sequel, I’ll go see it. It’s not Oscar worthy fare, but it fun.

  • The months January, February and March are usually the worst months in the film world. Known most commonly as the graveyard shift these months usually bring out the absolute worst Hollywood has to offer so if something good comes out it’s usually a sigh of relief. Luckily, Kingsman: The Secret Service is more than good, it’s bloody amazing. Is Kingsman the coolest movie ever made? possibly. The story is this: A spy organisation recruits a young unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

    Starring a largely British cast of: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Mark Hamil and Samuel L. Jackson, Kingsman can be best described as Kick-Ass meets James Bond and since the film is based on the hit comic book from Mark Miller, the same guy who wrote Kick- Ass it’s not really a surprise he panned it out that way. But really, Kingsman is a stylish, entertaining, marvelously constructed and gripping action movie that’s stupendously enjoyable to watch. Matthew Vaughn has proved himself to be more than a capable film-maker with Layer Cake, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, here however he is at the top of his game, directing fast-paced action with the utmost precision. The script is equally tight, witty and humorous.

    On the acting front, Colin Firth gives a particularly ‘kick-ass’ performance as spy Harry Hart while newcomer Taron Egerton gives a breakthrough performance as Eggsy. Michael Caine and Mark Strong are also good in their supporting roles. The film itself feels very much like a tribute to James Bond movies, there are multiple references and very much of the movies seems like a James Bond movie but in many ways it isn’t. Samuel L. Jackson plays a very Bond-like villain, Richmond Valentine, like most Bond villains he has both an evil plan and a weird name, however isn’t really that effective as the antagonist mainly because he’s too comical but I suppose it’s how he was meant to be.

    In conclusion, Kingsman: The Secret Service is one of the most awesome and enjoyable films you’re ever likely to see. It’s a thrilling, entertaining and gripping spy movie that’s full on action and comedy. It’s a fun movie, one of the best of the year that most definitely deserves your time.

    Final Score: 9.3/10

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  • One thing I can say about this movie, they have done every little thing just right!! It definitely falls into the Bond genre (I think it’s about time to give the Bond movies their own genre). This movie is different in many ways yet it embraces its genre completely, yes, it is a British spy action comedy but it’s like they wait for you to expect something and then they do the opposite.

    Matthew Vaughn is usually great with these kind of movies, Kingsman gives the same vibe as Kick-ass, the perfect balance between action and dark humor. The film was violent yet not gory, he avoided the gore and the messiness that comes with it. One of the best fight scenes I have seen in a very long time. In most of the fight scenes there were some awesome long takes, which is very hard to accomplish, as opposed to short quick confusing and totally unimpressive scenes. Vaughn usually adapts stories with comic book backgrounds and makes the characters and story come to life on screen with all their cartoonish and comical nature, unlike Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan who take a comic book story, strip it from all its comical charm and turn it into a typical action movie that does not really need a superhero or a supervillain to be special.

    The story is surprisingly original and the attention they paid to detail is impressive, it’s a solid well-rounded ‘major plot holes’ free.

    Also, the casting was pure brilliance, let’s talk Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, both have been thrown out of their comfort zones, especially Colin Firth, but both did it brilliantly! Colin Firth proved that he can be a bad ass and do the genre that he has been accused of lacking the capabilities to do. Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Valentine, is very interesting, he’s like a genius Bond villain with a soft heart, low tolerance to violence, a very evil yet smart plan and a lisp. Mark Strong acting wasn’t as great as the aforementioned actors but I blame whoever wrote the character because they didn’t give him a lot to work with, the character was flat and typical. But Mark Strong is always great. And I still think he’s one of the most underrated great actors.


  • I am offering you the opportunity to become a Kingsman.
    A tailor?
    A Kingsman agent.
    Like a spy?
    Of sorts. Interested?
    You think I’ve got anything to lose?

    I’m not a big fan of Bond films. Too clean, too boring and too stiff. And there was always Q who came up with some new inventions and coincidentally they came in handy in that movie. I would love to own his crystal ball. Also, every movie was stuffed with action, but you’d never see a speck of blood (Before all Bond fans react furiously: I admit that I haven’t seen all Bond-movies. So I could be wrong on that part). And in every film a bunch of gorgeous ladies paraded around, but I’ve never seen a millimeter of offensive nudity. “Kingsman : The Secret Service” feels like a James Bond flick, but then provided with all these last-mentioned facts and an excessive dose of humor.

    Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a member of “The Kingsmen”, an espionage organization, which is even more secret than the secret service itself, that gets all the dirty jobs from MI6. Hart is a genuine Englishman and looks more like a distinguished businessman or banker than a master spy. During an operation in the Middle East, the father of Gary “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton) got killed, after which Hart gives this toddler a medal that could be useful in the future. 17 years later, during the kidnapping of a professor by the multi millionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), another secret agent is killed during the rescue operation. Hart recommends Eggsy (grown up, unemployed and no prospects) as a candidate to join “The Kingsmen “.

    The whole film has the atmosphere of an old spy movie like James Bond or “The Avengers”, a popular series from the 70’s with John Steed as a secret agent who faithfully wore a bowler and was equipped with an ordinary umbrella with all sorts of ingenious gadgetry. Compared with the civilized manners in those days, “Kingsman” is rather brutal and radical. Don’t get me wrong. Hart is an example of courtesy and attempts to be as reserved and correct as possible, regardless of the situation he finds himself in, as befits a true Brit. But it’s mainly the dissolute tone and graphic violence that makes the difference. The film sometimes tends to take on Tarantino-like proportions. The fragment in the local church is such an example. 3 Minutes of rage swirling across your screen with Hart acting as a purebred John Wick. Or the scene in the local pub where he demonstrates equivalent fighting techniques as “The Equalizer”. Colin Firth doesn’t look particularly like a well-oiled fighting machine and some movements look rigid, but all in all this 55-year was convincing enough. He proves that besides serious roles full of drama as in “Devil’s Knot” and “The Railway Man”, he’s capable to handle lighthearted, action-packed roles as well.

    When Eggsy begins the grueling training, with annoying rich kids as opponents, I was afraid it would lead to a kind of “Ender’s Game” or “Divergent” story. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. The whole training proceeded under the watchful eye of Merlin (Mark Strong). The only thing that was a bit unbelievable for me, was the fact that an inexperienced teenager as Eggsy, whose most exciting life experience so far was peeing against an electric cattle fence, can grow out into an experienced parachutist in such short period. However I tolerated this since this action comedy doesn’t take itself seriously in the first place. And also lets mention Michael Caine, as the Godfather of all Kingsmen, who perfectly took upon himself the role of ancien.

    In a real spy movie, a bad guy shouldn’t be missing obviously. This part was played with visible pleasure by Samuel L. Jackson as the lisping multimillionaire Richmond Valentine who worries about the future of the earth. In particular, the global warming, concerns him. For this, however, he has devised a diabolical plan. Only the implementation of this plan is inadequate. Jackson is peerless in this role (About time after a few feeble performances) as the eccentric Valentine who can’t stand seeing a drop of blood and tends to lose consciousness in that case. To avoid this, he has a graceful assistant called Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). A true fury and fighting machine with razor-sharp legs with the necessary amputated limbs as a result. Finally, also a honorable mention for Hanna Alström as the Swedish princess. She didn’t need much acting talent, but her graceful butt was prominently displayed in the end.

    “Kingsman: The secret service” is a must see movie. Do you enjoy a touch of dry English humor, overly bloody action moments and all of this with a wink to the great spy movies of yesteryear ? Surely this film is made for you. Brace yourself for this espionage which contains brute force as well as humor. And it doesn’t avoid well known clichés, but still brings them in a different way so that you actually won’t notice it really. Magistrale movie !

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  • (Rating: ☆☆ ½ out of 4)

    This film is mildly recommended.

    In brief: A spy film that is shaky, not stirring.

    GRADE: B

    Kingsman: The Secret Service is an homage to the British spy film genre with its sophisticated agents, wry humor, and gadgetry. It sends up the Ian Fleming spy films but with a harsher edginess and tons of violence. Matthew Vaughn directs the film with ample flair and style, but his screenplay (co-written by Jane Goldman) lacks the right degree of mindless fun and wit. The plot follows the formula of a megalomaniac wanting to control the world and a secret agency that is hellbent on stopping him.

    The film is very well cast, with the exception of its villain, who acts more buffoonish than menacing. Samuel L. Jackson plays him, but the actor never conveys the wickedness very convincingly. Fortunately, the other actors contribute greatly to the film’s enjoyment. Foremost are its two leads, Colin Firth who handles the action hero bravado very well and newcomer Taron Egerton as his willing protégé. Mark Strong, Michael Caine, and Sofia Boutella as the female Oddjob round out the ensemble.

    Kingsman: The Secret Service entertains, but its high level of non-stop violence is disturbing, especially in a church scene where the body count reaches absurd heights and skews the film’s lighter tone which effectively is found in films of this genre. Also, the CGI is amateurish and cheap looking. Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a comic book, but comic is not the correct term in describing this movie. Serviceable is.

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