"Kingsman: The Secret Service" Review

If Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp isn’t enough to get you to go see “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, perhaps the smart script will. Rather than going for “Get Smart” or “Austin Powers” funny, writers Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn take aim for the difficult middle ground of a serious spy film that is self aware. The result, is a preposterous spy movie that’s an exciting ride!

The film starts off with an infiltration operation in which a helicopter shoots missiles into a castle. As rubble from the explosion falls to the ground it turns into letters for the opening credits. Its this nod to the audience that puts you at ease, but the ensuing scene is equally edgy and solemn, setting us up for a constant exchange of emotion throughout the film. 

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is your classic case of a teenager growing up without a father. His mother is in an abusive relationship with the local tough guy. He’s highly intelligent, but pickpockets and boosts cars to get attention. After his most recent illegal joy ride gets him in police custody, Eggsy calls the number on the back of a pendant passed down to him from his father. Little does Eggsy know that he’s just called the Kingsman, a super secret spy organization made of fashionably dressed gentlemen.

Once Harry (Colin Firth), whose code name is Galahad, gets Eggsy out of jail, the typical heroes journey/recruitment begins. In the mean time, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a megalomaniac villian of sorts, is recruiting international leaders in a “get down or lay down” scheme. Either the leaders get down with his world domination plan, or they are held in captivity until he can hit the reset button on a world that he feels is headed for destruction.

The violence in this film is as high as you would expect from the director of “Kick Ass”, but at times doesn’t serve the film except for shock value. Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), Valentine’s right hand woman with swords for legs, is the embodiment of that violence for no reason other than a cool idea or visual. Certain gags, like Jackson’s lisp (which is a perfect choice for one of the best wordsmiths in the business), start out funny but becomes more of a thorn in the film’s side.

“Kingsman” is exactly what you thought it would be based on the trailer, escapist fun. Director Matthew Vaughn has created a solid film during the time that most Hollywood films are forgettable and laughable. In truth, while it too may be forgotten by the end of the year, it produces some good laughs that are worth your hard earned cash this weekend.

Rating: B-


Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.