Kingsman: The Secret Service–Spoofing James Bond

kingsman_the_secret_service_1The concept is good, but the tone is not consistent or right in Kingsman: The Secret Service, the latest spoof of the James Bond movies, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

The movie is high on both energy and gloss, offering the kind of entertainment we have not seen for a while, but it strains for fresh ideas, especially in the second half; there are too many variations of the same notion.


Colin Firth, better known for his serious and dramatic roles, including his Oscar winning role in “The King’s Speech,” is cast against type, making a surprisingly winning action hero, while Samuel L. Jackson and Sofia Boutella play terrific, old-fashioned villains.

kingsman_the_secret_service_3_firthThe narrative is a bit choppy, but the action is grand and the humor is often sharp, in a movie that’s sort of an update of the 007 for the new millennium–and a younger generation of spectators.  It is based on a populist fantasy that both celebrates and deconstructs the myth of secret agents and their (seemingly) glamorous work.  The movie suggest that, even the poorest boy from London’s shabby lowe-class neighborhoods can have a shot at being a refined and suave secret agent.

The plot, such as it is, concerns a troubled young man (Taron Egerton) who is recruited and given a chance to be a part of a super-secret national security organization.  The recruiter is agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who owes young Gary Unwin’s father a great debt–the father was a Kingsman who saved Hart’s life in the line of duty a decade ago.

kingsman_the_secret_service_5_firthHarry offers Gary the opportunity to compete for admittance into the program. Needless to say, his competitors are refined young men and women of privilege. As Gary attempts to win admittance into the world of classy espionage, Harry Hart stumbles onto a plot concerning a tech tycoon (Samuel L. Jackson) who possess an extreme strategy for dealing with climate change.

The fellow students are all types, except for the only female in the group (Sophie Cookson), who stands out purely by virtue of the Smurfette Syndrome.  Refreshingly, she plays neither a love interest nor hostage.

kingsman_the_secret_service_2_caineGiving a broad, self-conscious performance, Jackson devours the scenery with a disarming lisp.  Just the sight of Colin Firth verbally sparring with Jackson offers a reason to see the picture, as they deliberately employ different acting styles.

Of the various action set-pieces, which are well executed, there is one particularly impressive sequence of skydiving.