Matthew Vaughn’s butt-kicking take on Mark Millar’s Kingsman: The Secret Service might well be the surprise package of 2015. Replicating the spirit of his 2012 hit Kick Ass – which was also an adaptation of Millar’s written work – Kingsman is an alternative crime/spy/secret agent adventure flick which pays homage to the likes of old-school, cheese-tactic Bond, in its own silly, outlandish and ultra violent fashion.
Chav-tastic teenager, Eggsy (played by newbie Welsh actor, Taron Egerton), is a bright spark with a rebellious streak from the rough end of London. On the brink of prison after being nicked for stealing a car, the youngster is given a second chance when he unknowingly calls in a favour from one of the leading members of the Kingsman secret service, Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Hart – whose life was once saved by Eggsy’s late father on a mission – believes the young man has potential and selects him for Kingsman training to join the ranks of the suit-wearing posh0s. Needless to say, it is not a straightforward process: billionaire businessman, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), is a constant thorn in the side of Hart and co., whilst the baseball cap wearing prodigy faced stiff competition – and plenty of prejudice – in his battle to join the ranks of the (very) secret service.
Firth himself said that the film would surprise a lot of people, but it was the Oscar winner’s performance that was the biggest shocker of them all. His usual sophistication and charm was mixed together with a ferocious streak which he pulled off to a tee. Who would have thought that one of Britain’s most treasured darlings could be such a convincing ass-kicker? Jackson’s lisped billionaire, which could have easily gone either way on the ratings scale, turned into a thoroughly enjoyable villain-of-the-piece. Much like the movie itself, the success of Jackson’s Valentine lied in the fact that he did not take himself too seriously. Throughout his character made reference to the fact he was not the stereotypical bad guy, tipping his metaphorical cap to the numerous James Bond antagonists who have graced our screens over the years. A man who was literally sick at the sight of violence, along with his legless henchwoman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), and much like newbie secret agent, Eggsy, they are not your usual main players in a spy flick.
Towards the end of the film – heck, even in its early exchanges – it becomes extremely easy to forget what is actually going on. Plot? What plot? Plans to change the world are a foot, but it is far too easy to lose yourself in everything that is going on around it to really care. Kingsman‘s clunkiness in its later stages, along with an over-reliance on its wildly extravagant, yet extremely watchable, action sequences can be forgiven as Vaughn has produced a frantically silly spectacle, which should not work as well as it does, but makes for an enjoyable ride.