A spot has opened up to join the secret service known as The Kingsman. Galahad AKA Harry Hart tasks the troubled Gary “Eggy” Unwin to undergo a gruelling recruitment process to see if he has what it takes. Running alongside these events is the billionaire Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) as he puts his secret plan into action.
Usually when I watch a film for review I allow a day or so to pass to begin. Mainly because when I exit the cinema on a high, it can cloud my judgement. So after the lights came up this film left me more than pumped. Now a day later and the result? Still pumped.
So to begin, the movie starts in Iraq where a team of the Kingsman led by Harry Hart (Firth) are questioning an Iraqi soldier. Kneecaps are taken out and the plan goes awry when one of the “New Knights” as Firth explains later, is killed. The one who’s killed is survived by his wife and son, Garry who will grow up to be known as “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton), our protagonist.
Eggsy grows up in a council estate with an abusive stepdad. After a night of joyriding he is arrested and calls Hart for help who when the former was a child was given a broach with a number on it. Hart, realising the youngster’s potential brings him to the underground base and it’s your usual training montage and underdog rising to the top. Or so I thought.
The gruelling training begins shortly after Hart is incapacitated. Not long after and he is back on his feet tracking down the arch villain in the form of Samuel L Jackson who is hardly ever seen without his baseball cap and has a Mike Tyson lisp. His henchwoman is Gazelle, (Sofia Boutella) who dispatches her enemies with a pair of running blades which have replaced her feet. Cue some kickass Capoeira and bloody dismemberment on her behalf.
From the trailers, and the fact that everything is kid friendly these days I went into this movie expecting a cool looking, blood free entertaining flick. Boy how I was wrong. Mathew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman return to what had audiences and critics alike talking about when they brought Kickass to the screens. Gratuitous bloody carnage. Make no mistake, Kingsman is as brutal as hell. The agents in question, dispatch their foes in stylish but gory fashion. Bullets blast into skulls from inches away, bones are shattered, and teeth fly out in slow motion. And to top it off, the action scenes are presented in beautiful long and detailed takes, you know so we can actually see it.
Firth clearly steals the show in my opinion. The trailers show him dispatch a few grunts in a pub but that is nothing compared to a scene which happens later on. Can’t say too much about it since it is integral to the plot but you will know it once you see it and my god it made me give the movie a whole extra star for that scene alone. Despite the gruesomeness the movie is funny as hell too. Vaughn has openly spoken against the latest breed of dark superhero and spy movies so in contrast this is as bright and colourful as it gets with a lot of added humour mainly from Egerton.
As for Egerton who splits the film with Firth, he does not fall short. He’s likable as the kind hearted but brilliant Eggsy. He’s pitted against upper class English toffs who are also competing for the role. He befriends and bonds with Roxy (Sophie Cookson) but she is the least developed character. Then again with so many characters and a film which keeps jumping back and forth between each one, it’s understandable why she was left behind. The film is about the underdog and you do side with him throughout.
Michael Caine lends his star power as the head of the organisation who doesn’t believe in our hero, wanting more the posh guys to win. He has some fun scenes with Firth but it is the scenes between Firth and Egerton which shine. They share a great chemistry with Firth being straight forward while Egerton is young and brash. To top it off, Mark Strong is Merlin, groups’ trainer and gadget expert. This time though, he refrains from punching little girls in the face.
So all in all, this is a treat. The writing once again is top notch, the dialogue is sharp and believable despite the over the top subject matter. The film is self aware poking cheeky little digs at other spy movies with wit and charm. The powerful cast fire on all cylinders. The action scenes and fight choreography put recent films to shame (except The Raid that is).
Sharp as Gazzelle’s blades, slick as Firth’s suits, better than Kickass for gore and fun, this is one not to be missed.
Director: Matthew Vaughan
Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella
Running Time: 128 minutes
Release Date: 24th January 2015