Kingsman: The Secret Service is a peculiar film. Whilst highly enjoyable and well executed – by the ever reliable Matthew Vaughn – the story of a ne’er do well, diamond in the rough, London street youth, who is recruited to join the most secret of secret agent cabals, is entertaining yet immediately forgettable.
Taron Egerton – posh playing street….irony? – plays Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, a going off the rails, scallywag, whose father gave his life saving Colin Firth’s Harry Hart, a core member of the Kingsman. Hart, feeling guilty and indebted, takes Eggsy under his wing, offering him the chance to become a Kingsman. First he will have to pass the trials and beat out his rivals.
With this coming of age, finding-the-man-inside-the-boy story going on, there is also Samuel L Jackson’s Billionaire villain, Valentine to contend with. He has a plan to cull the planet, so as to save the planet.
The story is lightweight and a little nonsensical, not helped by an underwritten and frankly irritating villain. Samuel L Jackson plays the villain as a lisping, gregarious, violence averse, maniac. We never really care that he wants to destroy the planet, his argument for doing so seeming hollow, not even really believed by himself, which is the main problem. We do not believe Valentine as a megalomaniac.
Considering this comes from the usually highly reliable team of Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, who brought us Kick-Ass and X-men: First Class, this is definitely below par. There is no point at which you believe that the Kingsman will not ultimately win. The film looks good, if a little CGI heavy – exploding heads? Really? – and Sofia Boutella as the lethal, Gazelle, wielding blades where her legs should be, is fabulous. The action sequences are expertly executed as well, especially the utter mayhem that is the church test!
KIngsman: The Secret Service, running at around one hundred minutes is entertaining enough and is not a terrible way to kill a couple of hours. The performances are all good, if, in some areas, a little underwritten (which I hate to say, as I am a fan of Vaughn and Goldman!)I know it is based on a comic, but I feel they could have done more with the characters. If they make a sequel – let’s wait for the numbers! – hopefully it will be a more cerebral effort and a little less comic show.