Directed by Matthew Vaughn (KICK-ASS, X-MEN FIRST CLASS), KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is an over-the-top, kick-ass action film that is incredibly entertaining. From its adrenaline-filled action scenes, to its endearing characters and all-star cast, Vaughn shows how to make a Bond-esque movie with a twist (not stirred). Despite a terrible choice for the film’s final scene, it’s safe to say KINGSMAN has started off this action-packed movie year with a bang.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a young man that has never had it easy. After losing his dad at a young age, Eggsy grew up on the wrong side of town and has had multiple run-ins with the law. All of that comes to a head when Eggsy takes on his mother’s abusive boyfriend and his gang of thugs and winds up in jail. His mother always told him if he was in serious trouble to call a number on his necklace, and someone would help. Unbeknownst to him, his father died in the line of duty as a Kingsman, a member of a secret spy agency. And as a token of their appreciation for his father’s sacrifice, the agency gives Eggsy a get out of jail free card, literally.
But that isn’t where the story ends. Seeing potential in Eggsy, and hoping to help his late-friend’s son make more of his life, Kingsman agent Harry (Colin Firth) takes the young man under his wing a la MY FAIR LADY. He enrolls him in a school that is training the next Kingsman agent, and out of about 10 recruits, only one will make it into the agency’s exclusive ranks. Eggsy’s training is further amped up when the agency learns that billionaire philanthropist Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is making steps to kill all but a select few of the Earth’s population… for environmental preservation purposes of course. Will Eggsy have what it takes to make the cut with the Kingsmen AND stop Valentine?
Based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ comic book series of the same name, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE takes the best elements of a Bond film and cranks it up to the next level. There are Brits. There are gadgets. There are fast-paced action scenes. Hell, there is even an eccentric villain sporting a lisp! If that’s not Bond-like, I don’t know what is.
SPOILER ALERT! Now, about that ending scene. After thoroughly enjoying the film, I had serious issues with the second to last scene of the movie (stay through the credits to see the real ending). Not only is this scene misogynistic and disgusting, it was also completely out-of-place within the rest of the movie. After Eggsy saves the world, he frees a Swedish princess, who has been locked inside Valentine’s prison. Instead of immediately fleeing her cell, the princess “rewards” Eggsy by letting him have anal sex with her. Excuse me, what?!?! Is this supposed to be funny, because it isn’t, except maybe to teenage boys. Why would a director want audience members to leave the theater on that note? I know I am looking too much into this “joke” but 1) Why the hell would the princess want to stay LONGER in the prison to do that and 2) THIS IS BEYOND DEGRADING!! Thankfully the action continues in the credits and while it doesn’t make up for that idiotic scene, I left the theater less enraged.
Oh, and if you are wondering, no, the dog(s) in the movie do not die. So don’t freak out like I did.
Besides that horrendous final scene (and the nail-biting dog scene), I thoroughly enjoyed KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. It’s obvious that action films are Vaughn’s forte, and there is no doubt in my mind this film will be getting a sequel. Perhaps with 50 SHADES OF GREY also coming out this weekend, you can do a Valentine’s Day double feature.
My Review: B+/A-