Much love to our Black Ship Books fans and coming off of this Valentine’s Day weekend, I want to share a review for a new movie that I love. Kingsman: The Secret Service is described by critics as “Bond meets Tarantino”, and I have to say that this is definitely an accurate description… although I would also add (insert name of any great director of comedies) because this movie had me and my date laughing from beginning to end. And going into the film, I had no idea that it was based on a Mark Millar comic book!
After the death of his father while on a mission, young Gary “Eggsy” Unwin and his mother are visited by Kingsman agent Harry Hart, also known as “Galahad”, with a medal of honor and instructions to contact him should they ever need help. Fast forward about a decade later, and we see the death of one Kingsman, rescuing a kidnapped college professor, by a woman with swords for prostheses on her legs. We later see a young adult “Eggsy”, who now lives in poverty with his baby sister, his mother, and her abusive boyfriend, getting in trouble with thugs and the law after stealing a car, which soon leaves him with little choice but to contact the man who visited him years ago. After being bailed out of jail by “Galahad” and following one of the best onscreen bar fights in cinematic history, Eggsy agrees to be trained and tested to see if he is fit to be a Kingsman like his father. Just on arriving at HQ, Eggsy makes allies and meets some snobby bullies as well, but after some interesting trials, that include being thrown out of a plane without a parachute, escaping a bedroom filled with water, and training a canine partner, the candidates are weeded out. Meanwhile, “Galahad” investigates the disappearances of several celebrities and politicians and discovers a plot to eradicate the “virus” of humanity in order to save the Earth. That’s the most I can say without spoiling the movie for anyone, but I will say that there is an intense fight scene at what I assumed to be a KKK church, lots of exploding heads (though in a very cartoonish fashion), plenty of allusions to Bond, Bourne, and other spy movies… oh, there is some breakdancing too.
This movie has a good plot, great themes, and incredible action sequences with plenty of visual effects that are perfect for 3D, though only standard was available for the theater I saw it in. The comedy is present in this high action film, thanks in large part to Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine (an appropriate name for the weekend’s occasion), the sensitive and squeamish evil tech genius with a lisp. Jackson’s character is not your typical rich, eccentric villain, but seeing him flinch and vomit at the sight of blood and listening to him deliver his lines like “…they made me kill Arnold! I loved Arnold!” with that lisp made the movie golden. And his main henchwoman, Gazelle, gave me a new perspective on prostheses and martialarts. Colin Firth’s “Galahad” also quotes Ernest Hemingway at one point in the movie regarding nobility and being better than your former self in his attempt to educate Eggsy, and that quote alone stood out to me, but there are plenty of bits throughout the film where they also take jabs at the rich and privileged, which I also enjoyed. I feel like this movie has a little bit of everything, and I’m almost surprised that it didn’t break the fourth wall, even though one line that was stated more than once could have been addressed directly to the audience. Kingsman: The Secret Service really gives viewers a quality spy movie with a little more than one might expect, but if you’re only expecting another Bond rip off, to quote Valentine, “This ain’t that kind of movie.”