After his father dies in the line of duty, young but gifted tearaway Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is given a medallion by secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) with an apology and the promise of a favour when he needs it.
20 years later, in a police interview, he calls that favour in – and is drawn into the super secret, super wealthy world of the Kingsmen. He competes to be newest member of the prestigious team, and puts his training to the test against Samuel L. Jackson‘s villainous, lispy, genius billionaire.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (directed by Matthew Vaughn) was a surprise hit of 2015, raking in massive box office takings, and it’s easy to see why from watching it now. What could have easily been a poor man’s James Bond or the cliche equivalent to Johnny English is actually a unique and refreshing take on the superspy genre.
It’s slick, colourful, fast paced, very entertaining, genuinely funny and way more adult than you might expect – there’s plenty of violence, bad language and raunchy chat to enjoy.
Kingsman was Taron Egerton’s breakout role, and with the help from massively heavy hitters around him like Colin Firth, Sam Jackson and Michael Caine, he really shines. Egerton is charming, cheeky, and makes for a great action hero – and his success in this film has lead to him going on to projects including the animated Sing! and starring in Hollywood’s new, gritty Robin Hood movie in the lead role, which will be directed by Peaky Blinders‘ Otto Bathurst.
The juxtapositions of Eggsy as a lad from the streets in this very privileged world is both interesting and comedic, with some good messages in there around silver spoons and what people can achieve if only they’re given the chance.
Firth is seriously suave here, and it looks like he’s having an absolute ball. Jackson’s villain is slightly maniacal and feels like strange casting, but his delivery still feels fresh and does fine.
And, Mark Strong is very witty and understated as Merlin, the trainer of the new Kingsman recruits.
The plot is kinda silly and all a bit far fetched – but you’re having so much fun that it really doesn’t matter.
What’s really unique about Kingsman is the frenetic and engaging style of fighting and action that Matthew Vaughn achieves – it looks like one swooping take, almost sped up and slowed down at the same time, and feels very original. Given that the story is based on a comic book, the violence is suitably stylised and very slick – it’s impressive that Vaughn has developed a new way of showing the kind of action we’ve seen so many times before, and a certain church scene might just result in your jaw being considerably dropped at the audacity of it all.
The great use of vastly inappropriate music is also a joy, especially the soundtrack of KC & The Sunshine Band in the third act when the whole world’s going to shit.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a fantastically fun setup of a new secret service world, and we can’t wait to see how it develops in the recently released sequel. 4 stars!
You can own Kingsman on DVD here.