Manners Maketh Man
Since James Bond’s debut in 1962, a number of films have attempted to reinvent the spy genre or emulate the Bond formula with little luck. So how does latest spy movie Kingsman: The Secret Service fare? At face value, the film features a formulaic, cliched plot with a hilarious caricature of a villain but somehow Kingsman shines where others have failed. Juggling brutal violence and good humour, Director Matthew Vaughn manages to create a grounded spy movie sprinkled with English charm. Kingsman is quite simply a fun ride from start to finish that never takes itself too seriously but still delivers when it matters.
The story follows Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a promising London street kid who’s recruited to undergo training to become a secret agent for an organisation quintessentially known as ‘The Kingsman.’ While Eggsy is being trained up, megalomaniac Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), complete with a lisp and a crisp fashion sense, plots to revolutionise the world through the use of a smartphone app.The story is told with a good pace, switching back and forth between Valentine and Eggsy and the switch between comedic punchlines and violence is brilliantly handled.
Admittedly, it takes a little while to get going but when the stakes are raised, around the time Harry Hart (Colin Firth) takes Eggsy under his wing and they combat a common enemy, the film really hits its stride. The partnership between Colin Firth and Taron Egerton – playing on a teacher and student dynamic – works harmoniously through the film and their acting is excellently portrayed from start to finish.
The action is generally well shot and choreographed across the board but its worth highlighting one key scene that takes place inside an American church. The camera work is very good; a mixture of aerial shots and smooth tracks capture the frenetic, brutal action that engulfs the crowd. With the guitar solo from Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd playing in the background, the frantic nature of the scene is elevated, leaving the breathless display of violence in its wake. Its such a well crafted scene and is one of the stand out moments of this spy movie and one of my personal favourite action scenes from 2015.
Overall though, Kingsman: The Secret Service manages to succeed where others have failed. Despite the unoriginal plot, Kingsman features some slick, well shot action and great character driven performances by both lead actors. Matthew Vaughn manages to put a unique spin on the spy genre, carving the way for a new breed of hero whilst keeping the inherently British spin on the genre. Its not perfect, and the film does have a few niggling issues but they’re easily overlooked. Kingsman is easily one of the best action flicks in 2015 and the fun it has whilst achieving this makes it well worth the time to watch.
Verdict - 8/10