When James Bond first turned towards the gun-barrel in 1962’s Dr.No, a cinematic industry was born. Spawning mega-fortunes for most concerned, the franchise has lasted decades. No surprise many have tried to emulate its’ success. Some have succeeded, others have failed.
Based on a comic book, Kingsman: The Secret Service liberally takes cue from 007’s adventures. Smart, clever and resolutely stylish, it is a beguiling wink to Ian Fleming’s enduring creation.
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is part of a top secret spy organisation. Tasked with recruiting suitable candidates, he meets Gary (Taron Egerton). A tough street kid, Gary’s roughish demeanour hides a calculating mind. Seeing much potential, Harry begins training his new apprentice. This can’t come soon enough when evil billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) threatens the world order. Quickly learning the ways of espionage, Gary sets his sights in becoming an agent worthy of valour.
Having directed Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, Matthew Vaughn is an expert at comic book movies. Kingsman: The Secret Service cements his fine reputation. Fully embracing the outlandish story’s possibilities, he revels in the absurd situations and crisply written dialogue. There’s a confident swagger about the script without being too clever. He is ably assisted by the actors who throw themselves into this outrageous scenario with gusto.
Kingsman: The Secret Service doesn’t take itself too seriously and nor does it attempt to be a ‘worthy film’. It is a straight-up thrill ride of brilliantly staged action scenes with easily identifiable characters. The cinematography is a major plus with each scene shown in broad comic book strokes full of colourful vitality. Fans of Bond, Bourne and other spies will receive a kick out of the small nods to other thriller films while it delivers its own brand of secret agent hijinks.
After a slew of similar genre films not cutting the mustard, Kingsman: The Secret Service delivers the goods. Fun, vibrant and exciting, hopefully others will take a leaf out of its book by remembering to add some lush colours to the usual formula.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 9