Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Kingsman The Secret Service poster.jpgLive and Let Spy

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Sophia Boutella, Michael Caine

It seems Matthew Vaughn's perfectly comfortable when (loosely) adapting the comics of Mark Millar. What was clear to see with Kick-Ass is backed up with his latest feature, as he works best when defying convention with joyous abandon.

Eggsy (Egerton) is an unrefined street kid with no prospects. After a stunt lands him in trouble, veteran secret agent Harry Hart (Firth) takes him on as a protégé, with the intention of training him to become a Gentleman spy. At the same time, billionaire Richmond Valentine (Jackson) is carrying out a plan that threatens the world.

Having made a star out of an unknown named Chloe Grace Moretz, the same is attempted by casting Taron Egerton. The young newcomer deftly brings a charm towards the rough around the edges persona of his character, all while his eyes showcase his want for a better life. Try not to be surprised when his career takes off. Colin Firth does perfect work as the Gentleman spy, granting what could be considered a triumphant audition for a Bond starring role.

Just like My Fair Lady

Samuel L. Jackson takes a different approach to his role, choosing to play the role with a lisp. As a result, the portrayal of the villainous tech mogul comes off as unassuming, as if the intention is to subvert those who'd instantly dismiss him due to his speech impediment. Granted, not all will warm to this choice, but Jackson's clearly having a ball in the role. Sophia Boutella is a good fit for Gazelle, the hench-woman with bladed legs, putting in an enjoyable performance to a character that deserves to be made iconic, while her dancing experience is put to good use in the well-executed action scenes.

One of the more exciting aspects here is the action, which is shot in a kinetic manner that's sure to get pulses racing. The most memorable encounter takes place within a church for religious bigots, and is sure to leave audiences talking. It's here that chaos reminiscent of The Raid is fluidly filmed, with a visual punch to showcase the many ways Colin Firth can kill a person. It's excitement unlike no other, and is already a strong front-runner for 2015's best action scene.

If there were any proverbial shackles upon Vaughn, then the third act is where he truly breaks free and lets loose. One ingenious spectacle will remain in your mind long after the films over, and a hilarious encounter leads towards a brilliantly unexpected way for things to end.

It's clear the serious nature of today's spy films isn't appealing to all, as some lament the lack of films which don't take themselves too seriously. For those in need of an alternative, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a fantastic choice. Vaughn's choice to go down the Kick-Ass route pays off exceptionally, playing with the genre with subversive glee, resulting in a brilliant addition to the genre in general.