Forget all about Spectre and the Bond films because, let's be honest, they cannot compete with Matthew Vaughn's latest; Kingsman: The Secret Service. Now, my friends, this is where the sh*t is at.
We're somewhere in the Middle East when a helicopter roars on-screen, blasting two missiles at a big ass fortress. It's a big, broad opening but it certainly has you excited. If there's one thing Vaughn can do, it's grabbing your attention. The scene is set for what's to follow: an explosive, classy and fun spy film. Just the way we like it.
Based on the acclaimed comic series by Mark Millar, Kingsman tells the story of a veteran secret agent - Colin Firth's Harry Hart - that takes a troublesome, young street kid (Taron Egerton's Eggsy) under his wing. We learn that he was the son of one of the agents that died during the opening sequence mentioned above. Eggy's off too reform school but Harry has been looking out for, coming to his help when the big lands himself in the custody of the police.
Recruiting him into a super secret spy organisation's competitive training program, we see the this tearaway up go against pretentious Oxbridge candidates for a spot in the agency - instantly bringing to mind BBC's The Apprentice - just as a global threat emerges, from Samuel L. Jackson's lisping tech genius Valentine. It's an enjoyable ride as the mellow Harry tries to tutor the hood-doffing Eggsy, bringing him up to scratch with the world of spies, action and, uh, manners.
This is Vaughn's third comic-book adaption in a row and the second time he has adapted one of Millar's comic books for the big-screen - the last being Kick-Ass. It's safe to say, from all his films, this has to be his best one yet. It's so audacious, energetic and just a LOT of fun to watch! There's a scene, taking place in a church, in which Firth's character just absolutely disowns everyone and kicks their ass. It's messy, it's brilliant and just so awesome to watch! This movie is, simply, the definition of fun.
Sure, though, we have Firth teaching a pub full of hoodie-wearing gangsters a few manners and a few F-bombs every now and then but the first act of the film is is quiet, not the same Vaughn that we've seen in his other work. Then, as the second act commences, he arrives, unleashing a reign of relentless violence and brutality upon us and we're smiling because this is the Matthew Vaughn that we love as he charges us through an exhilarating, cheeky wee second act. This is the best spy films have been in years; girls and guns galore with rude and crude remarks flying all the over the place.
There's a scene in this when Jackson's antagonist Valentine and Firth's protagonist Harry meet face-to-face and dip into a chat about spy movies, when Hart says how "they're too serious nowadays." Well, he ain't lying. They are. The over-saturation of these films, of Bond (they're onto their 24th film now) has sucked the fun out of them - from how they used to be. The way Kick-Ass was a homage to the superhero genre, Kingsman pays respect to the good, old-fashioned days of spy films - having nods, here and there, to the classic espionage thriller.
Sure enough, though, the risk with taking this outgoing, tongue-in-cheek approach can mean that the story can get a little bloated and dumb at times, to an extent that it lets the film down. That happens here, with Kingsman. The plot is already quite daft as it is and begins to lose itself towards the end, by which point all the fun and comedy and action begins to simmer down too. There's a lot of little minor inconsistencies scattered throughout the duration of this but it would be pointless to nitpick, as the film's intent is purely to entertain - and it does that.
As far as the acting goes, everyone looks like they're having a blast. Colin Firth is really on form in this. You could say that he's somewhat of a revelation in what is his first proper action role. He really seems like he's having the time of his life, laying waste to thugs. He has some of the most memorable action sequences too and just fits this plummy, umbrella wielding agent perfect.
However, it's newcomer Taron Egerton that steals the show here. Vaughn has a thing for picking up the scent of fresh talent and throwing them into the depths of acting, having given big stars, today, like Chloe Moretz and Sienna Miller their first major roles, the ones that put them on the map. Watching Taron on-screen, you would not think that this is one of his first ever acting roles - the kid's a natural. He knocks it out the park.
Although, it's the veritable chemistry between mentor and student that really draws you in. He and Firth share some poignant, memorable moments and it's just the constant back-and-forth between the two - as Harry teaches Eggsy how to be a gentleman - that makes their friendship so beautiful and so great. Of course, everyone else is fabulous too. Jackson makes an impressive, formidable foe for the Kingsmen, Michael Caine is fun too and even Mark Strong brings a brilliant Lord Sugar-esque weight to the proceedings. I've got my fingers crossed for a franchise for this one.
Utterly brutal and hilarious, Kingsman: The Secret Service pours energy and life into the espionage genre, making Matthew Vaughn's homage to spy films utterly violent, remarkably rude and insanely fun!
Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in the UK on January 29th and the U.S on February 13th.
Check out my video review of Kingsman below too:
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.