Kingsman: The Secret Service

★★★½
A very fun movie, with much inspiration from Tarantino.
Movie Review #977

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The third time’s always a charm. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is director Matthew Vaughn’s third comic book adaptation, following “Kick-Ass” (2010) and “X-Men: First Class” (2011). While those two were merely decent, “Kingsman” is a whole lot of fun.

Much of that is because of the fact that Vaughn has finally grounded his style, which feels heavily inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s body of work. The movie opens with homages to the killing of Frank Whaley’s character and Christopher Walken’s gold watch soliloquy from “Pulp Fiction”. Less than two minutes later, it’s out of the gates with the sort of sudden, fast-paced action sequences that Tarantino had fun with in his first volume of “Kill Bill”. And as is true of Tarantino, Vaughn’s action sequences benefit extraordinarily from his music choices. “Give It Up” by KC and the Sunshine Band during a hand-on-hand combat, for example, or even better, a riot that takes place inside a church that is matched with a cover of “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Oh and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson stars. Samuel plays Valentine, a hacker. There’s a role that feels more standard than any other in a modern action movie, but he certainly makes something of it. The lisp he takes on for his role as Valentine makes for his most enjoyable character in years. (This being a man that has starred in well over 100 films.) As his foils are Colin Firth and Michael Caine, who are great in their respective roles. The main focus of the plot, though, is Eggsy, portrayed by Taron Egerton. Eggsy is something of a juvenile delinquent when the film starts up, but he has a considerable amount of skill. He’s trained to work for the secret agency Kingsman. There’s a lot of competition surrounding him, but that’s not what he’s up against. The question that remains at stake here is, Will he be able to combat Valentine in his flawless attempts to destroy the world as we know it?

Taron Egerton does a fine job in this role. He gives a performance not unlike Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s in “Kick-Ass”, but here, we have a hero who is a lot more believable. He takes the lead in several of the movie’s comic booky action sequences, which are awesomely choreographed. I’ll give another special mention to the church riot sequence, which is truly hilarious and exciting enough to warrant eight more mentions. In its final third, “Kingsman” shows a knack for making its action sequences feel delightfully random. Matthew Vaughn spends an entire scene seemingly creating a blend of “Pomp and Circumstance”, LSD, fireworks, and the climax from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The results are fantastic. The whole final third of “Kingsman” is the peak of its ridiculous fun. It gets bonus points for ending just like a Bond movie, which, I’d assume, was its intention in the first place.

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2 thoughts on “Kingsman: The Secret Service

  1. The comparison to Tarantino makes perfect sense. It’s as close to a Tarantino Bond as we’ll ever see. I also loved how this movie took all the tropes of the Bond movies and played with them without creating a spoof or a parody. I look forward to the sequel.

  2. Damn Cinemaniac, I really meant to get a movie review about this to you, but for the record you wrote a far better review than I could ever have crafted.

    I’m glad Kingsman was a success- we need more R-rated comic book films.

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