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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Movie Review - Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella, and Mark Hamill
Directed by Matthew Vaughn

For a movie I actually enjoyed, I've waited over a month to write this review of Kingsman: The Secret Service.  I think part of my issue is that Kingsman is sometimes like two different movies -- there's an attempt to be James Bond-ian in its take on the British spy genre, but then it also feels very Quentin Tarantino-esque in terms of glorified, bloody violence.  While I find both of those genres appealing (at times) on their own, the meshing of the two never quite fits for me.

That said, the story of a rough-around-the-edges young man named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who is recruited by the suave, debonair, and mysterious Harry Hart (Colin Firth) to join the ranks of an elite secret British spy agency is thoroughly entertaining.  Typically, I'd grow weary of "origin" stories, but Kingsman (based on a comic book) places its character of Eggsy through a recruitment process that is entertaining, exciting, and surprisingly tense.  As Eggsy gets to know both his potential and the intricacies of the agency for which he may soon work, director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn keeps things uniquely stylized.

At the same time Eggsy is learning the ropes, billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is attempting to take over the world via his telecommunications company.  Needless to say, it's obvious that the two stories are eventually going to intertwine and while I enjoyed both the Eggsy and Richmond sides of the plot separately, when they begin to come together is when the film begins to falter a bit.  The disjointed nature of the film hits its peak when Firth's Harry Hart finds himself in the midst of an incredibly gruesome attack where more blood is spilled in one scene alone than I've seen since The Bride went nuts on the Yakuza and the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill.  In Tarantino's flick, however, stylized violence played a role from the beginning of the film, whereas here it feels as if Vaughn brings things on too suddenly to feel cohesive.  It's not that the film proves to be a disappointment, it's simply that the writers (and Vaughn as the director) begin to take things too over-the-top in terms of violence.

Despite its imperfections, Kingsman: The Secret Service proves to be an enjoyably fun ride.  Vaughn takes some risks here and while some pay off -- I very much appreciate that no one is safe here in terms of characters making it out of the movie alive -- others don't quite work.  Still, I'd certainly be willing to check out any sequel should it make its way to the big screen as I found the whole flick entertaining enough to warrant a second go with the characters it presents.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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