Kingsman: The Secret Service is all gadgets, guns and explosive action.
The film is adapted from Mark Millar and Dave Gibson’s comic ‘The secret Service’. Director Mathew Vaughn, who brought us X men: First Class and Kick Ass, is no stranger to the realm of comic books and he launches a tour de force of spy genre greatness here.
The Kingsman agents are named after King Arthur’s famed round table, and act as modern day knights. When Agent Lancelot fails to return from a mission to save Professor James Arnold, played my Mark Hamill (a nod to Hamill’s appearance in the original comic), the search for a replacement begins.
Colin Firth plays Harry Hart, aka agent Galahad, an old fashioned gentleman spy who realises that times have changed. The kingsman need to expand their talent pool for their new recruits. Enter Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton, who is a young street wise teen full of potential, but has yet to succeed in any part of his life.
Colin Firth probably isn’t the first actor you’d associate with elaborate fight scenes, or as a Jason Bourne man of action, but this is exactly what makes his casting so perfect; The stereotypical British umbrella welding gentleman, who is the last person you’d expect to kick your ass. Firth has got in shape for this role, so he’s totally believable and more than capable of this high-octane action.
The ‘Kingsman’ doesn’t hold back. The film treats us to beautifully choreographed fight sequences. It is clear and precise, and draws you right into the thick of it. The stunt work is outstanding. Egerton’s stunt double, former British gymnast and free runner Damien Walters, illustrates why he is the go to guy in Hollywood if you want that je nes sais quois.
But what is a suave spy without a villainous billionaire genius megalomaniac intent on wiping out most of the world’s population?
Samuel L Jackson plays Richmond Valentine, a sort of evil Steve Jobs, with the flare and nuance that we have come to expected from the Pulp Fiction actor. He’s the perfect adversary for Hart. Add to this a bionic evil henchwoman with blades for feet, and The Kingsman have quite a fight on their hands.
The whole cast is outstanding . Newcomer Taron Egerton, as the young protégé Eggsy, is defiantly one to look out for. Sofia Boutella is amazing as the acrobatic henchwomen Gazelle, and a notable mention has to goes to Mark Strong as trainer and gadget man Merlin. Oh, and not forgetting Sir Michael Caine.
The film doesn’t just lampoon the super-spy genre visually, but the brilliant script, by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, isn’t scared to reference all of its movie counterparts. Fifth and Jackson bounce off each other perfectly. In one scene Valentine asks Hart “You like spy movies?” to which he replies “Nowadays they’re a little serious for my taste. Give me a far-fetched theatrical plot any day”
That’s exactly what Kingsman: The Secret Service is, the perfect amalgamation of the old school far-fetched larger than life characters, and modern day style, flare and sentiment.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is out in NZ Cinemas from 5 February.
Reviewed by Ian Wright