From the trailer, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” appeared confident, a little edgy, outrageously daring and, if nothing else, diverting. Luckily, the film delivered and exceeded those high expectations.
In its barest bones, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is about one street kid’s encounter with a covert, highly competitive and prestigious spy organization known as Kingsman. Eggsy, a prankster and bar fighter, enters Kingsman’s rigorous training regimen in the hopes of making it through the life-threatening missions and joining the agency. However, his training is interrupted when evil entrepreneur Valentine decides to eradicate the human population with his own invention, a chip that is placed underneath the skin. Eggsy must work with another agent to save the human race from near extinction, beating all odds, with practically no guidance to get them through.
The film is smart, witty, even intelligent, because of its awareness of the genre. Let’s face it: The spy genre has been done to death, hashed and rehashed with little originality and inventiveness. The predictability of the James Bond movies, for example, is enough to make audiences yawn from absolute boredom. However, that’s not the case with “Kingsman.” The ability to recognize the staples of the genre and play with that very typical subplot actually separates that film from the genre. The result is a film that is separate from its perceived genre, ultimately generating a movie that is fresh and completely unique. And this time, instead of laughing at the movie for its outright stupidity, it is possible to laugh with the movie and enjoy the sequences for their comic twists.
The style and quality of the action both thrilled and excited. Though entirely unbelievable, the fast-paced and exceedingly precise choreography fit the feel of the movie. The agents’ fighting skills bred the notion of infallibility, even invincibility at times. These close-combat fight sequences were highly romanticized, though I would not regard this as a negative thing. It made the movie in general all the more attention catching. To blink your eye once would mean to miss raw action sequences and potentially crucial parts of the movie.
The film reaches new heights with its open, direct critique of Americans. The protagonists of the movie, after all, were English, and none other than Samuel Jackson, who was meant to represent Americans as a whole, played their antagonist. Valentine (Samuel Jackson) was portrayed as the average American—loud, opinionated, self-serving and a true lover of McDonald’s. In one scene, Valentine was treating his prestigious guests to a fine dinner, which would be revealed when the silver covering was removed from the tray. Very dramatic music played in the background as Valentine’s guests stared at the silver covering, waiting to gaze at the delicious, home-cooked meal. Upon its removal, the exceptionally cooked dinner that automatically came to mind was replaced with the thickly outlined M on McDonald’s containers and wrapping. It would appear that Americans don’t have the same class as the English—the same adherence to gentlemanly etiquette or classy dress.
If you’re a habitual moviegoer it makes sense to roll out a little dough to see this movie—to put it simply, it’s worth it. Colin Firth’s rendition of Harry Hart, a refined and highly experienced spy, is both convincing and satisfying on a new level. Actually, Firth channels David Niven’s James Bond, who portrayed the character in the 1967 unofficial and comedic James Bond movie “Casino Royale.” On top of that, Firth also delivers in every action sequence as Hart, the mentor and voice of reason. His greatest bit of advice follows like this: “Oxfords, not brogues.” Oxfords is a generic term for any shoe with lacing, whereas a brogue is an additional decorative design that is added to the shoe. Class, as always, takes precedence before anything else.
Enjoy “Kingsman: The Secret Service” not as a groundbreaking moment in cinema, but a delight, a little gem in an inescapable barrage of poorly crafted, predictable and wholly unoriginal movies.