Ever watched a Quentin Tarantino movie and thought it didn’t have enough violence? Did “300” leave you wanting more bloodshed? Do you think that James Bond movies are too realistic these days?
Well, good news. British director Matthew Vaughn (“Kick Ass,” “Layer Cake”) agrees and his latest offering, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” addresses those concerns.
The plot line is fairly linear, with a couple of twists and turns, but nothing too original.
Eggsy, a young man living at home with his mom and his cruel step-dad, is unaware that his real father was an agent with the secretive Kingsman organization, an international spy agency that does not work for any government but rather the greater good.
He ends up being recruited by his father’s former mentor to join the agency himself, and eventually must step up to foil the diabolical plot of the film’s main baddie, a billionaire eco-terrorist played by an amusingly out-of-character Samuel L. Jackson.
The movie itself is gorgeous to watch, and everything from the landscape of the villain’s mountain hideout to a brawl between some bullies and Colin Firth’s ice cube cool secret agent Galahad looks absolutely fantastic.
Teeth fly by in slow motion, explosions run rampant and heads literally explode, not into gore but instead into spectacular fireworks. Now, the film has received a large amount of press for its violence, and this is certainly deserved. However, it is not the violence of a horror movie such as “Saw,” but rather a stylized violence, visually stunning that and comes off as a vampire’s attempt at art.
Action scenes proceeded in slow motion, with each knife thrust, armbar or punch zoomed in on and tracked from start to finish. Most of these crazy action scenes were actually filmed in only one or two takes and took a physical toll on the actors involved.
Firth himself had to work out for six months prior to filming just to get in sufficient shape to film the now infamous scene where he battles an entire faux-Westboro Baptist Church.
Really though, this film is just plain fun, even if that fun is ridiculous and over-the-top. Not taking itself too seriously, it functions not only as a faithful adaptation of the comic book that inspired it but also as a homage to spy movies, and especially the Connery-era Bond films, though where the classic Bond films made use of the subtle rapier of humor, Kingsman gleefully goes for the battle axe instead.
Throughout the film the gadgets and gizmos that Daniel Craig’s rugged Bond might scorn are given center stage, and our heroes are equipped with everything from poisoned pens to cigar lighter hand grenades. Of course, neither of those things matches the sheer ridiculousness of the movie itself.
From the plot line to the gadgets, from the characters to the filmography, from the witty quips to the crazy villains, the movie is proudly and unabashedly over-the-top.
Bottomline: 7.5 out of 10. A good choice if you’re looking for a fun spy movie that has its tongue planted firmly in the side of its cheek.