Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Movie Review #220: "Kingsman: The Secret Service" (2015)

Movie"Kingsman: The Secret Service"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Showtime: Matthew Vaughn
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
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The Kingsmen are an elite group of secret agents that operate under the highest level of discretion. They use a tailor shop as a front to their secret headquarters and always appear as unassuming gentlemen. The Kingsmen use code names named after the knights of the round table, and when agent Lancelot is killed, another person must be recruited to take his place. Each Kingsman chooses a recruit to take the training course, and the choice Harry "Galahad" Hart (Colin Firth) makes is the son of a former Kingsman who has a lot of rough edges and a criminal past named Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton). Meanwhile, a maniacal internet billionaire named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is hatching a plan to save the planet by ridding it of it's most deadly virus, mankind, by creating a machine that makes people fly into violent rages and kill each other. Now, it is up to the Kingsmen to stop him. 

BigJ and I have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time. We were a little skeptical based on the first trailer, but when the second one came out, we were all about this movie, and boy, we were not disappointed! This is an awesomely fun comic book style action flick, and that might sound like a lot of descriptor words, but they are all true. It has a bit of that old-school campiness typical of classic spy films, which adds some much needed humor to break up all of the action and violence. In addition, like the old-school spy films, there are a ton of incognito gadgets, which actually turn out to be really badass weapons like the umbrella gun, a watch that shoots stun darts and a lighter that is actually a hand grenade, as well as a bunch of other cool items that we won't discuss so we don't spoil anything. The Kingsmen themselves look like high-class, stylish gentlemen dressed in impeccably tailored, ultra-swanky suits and thick framed glasses, but in reality, they have the ability to take names and kick some serious ass at the slightest wrong glance.

This film does have an R rating, and we are so happy that it did. So many times, filmmakers make the decision to stick with a PG-13 rating or even to scale a movie back from its original R rating in an effort to reach a wider mass appeal. This is complete nonsense because 2 R-rated movies from the first two months of this year have broken records for their respective months ("American Sniper" in January and "Fifty Shades of Grey" in January, in case you were curious). "Kingsman" uses its god-given R rating fully in terms of profanity and violence, and there is even a little bit of nudity in there, too. As far as the violence goes, for example, Gazelle, played by Sofia Boutella, is the right-hand woman of the movie's villain, Valentine, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Gazelle has prosthetic sprinter feet with built-in blades that she uses to slice and dice her way through those who stand against Valentine. Needless to say, there is no shortage of blood when it comes to her sword-feet. On the other hand, the Kingsmen themselves are no strangers to bloody violence either, as they use their elite combat skills to break limbs, put bullets through henchmen, and impale their enemies with what ever object is within reach, whether it be a pint glass or a piece of a church pew. Above all, there is a scene towards the end of the movie that we don't want to give away, but let's just say that the ending alone is worth the price of admission to see this movie. I think my jaw was on the floor as it was taking place and we wanted to cheer because it was so damn fabulous.

When you think of the phrase "action star," Colin Firth is probably not the first, the second, the third, or even the fortieth actor's name that might pop into your head as synonymous with that phrase. We are delighted to say that, in the role of Harry Hart, the suave, debonair, devilishly charming Kingsman, he works wonderfully. He works in this movie because isn't important that a Kingsman looks like an action star. In fact, it's counterproductive to look like a fighter, or a thug, or a henchmen, or a tough guy/gal. To them, it's more important that they look like stuffy British gentlemen, which is basically what Colin Firth has done his entire life apart from a few romantic comedies. Even as he moves out of the gentleman role and into the ass-kicking one, he still manages to keep his part convincing. Taron Egerton is a relatively unknown actor, but he was perfect for the part of Eggsy. Egerton balances out his street thug mentality with book smarts and an extreme sense of loyalty. He also cleans up nicely and can look unassuming in a tux as well. We are looking forward to seeing what he does next! Samuel L Jackson is also really great as the villainous Valentine, an eccentric billionaire who can't stand the sight of blood, but has a plan to off kill the majority of the population in what he believes is an effort to make the world a better place in the long run. We will say that his lispy voice wasn't super necessary, but it wasn't distracting to us like it was to others.

All in all, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a ballsy, cheeky romp with a great cast, a fantastic story, and in this case, most importantly, the chance to start a whole new awesome franchise. The direction by Matthew Vaughn is top notch in this surprisingly excellent, outrageously fun and stylish action spy film that throws a nice homage to the spy movies of yore. We cannot wait to see more!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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