Film Review – Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Kingsman the secret service poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine

Review by Jordan

There certainly aren’t many directors quite like Matthew Vaughn. I imagine that’s because most film-makers actually respect the nuances of craftsmanship and foster even the slightest desire to produce a product that compliments the movie making industry, as opposed to confusing fun with ugliness and entertainment with derision and serving up mass appealing junk food (quite literally) where a satisfying main should be.

Kingsman: The Secret Service, a 007 send-up of sorts and his latest film, represents a complete lack of understanding of the use of violence in mainstream film, rendering it abhorrent and dramatically depressing. This view however I am confident was not shared by the row of cinema goers who laughed, clapped and enthusiastically discussed it’s merits on loop; I’m guessing its been a while since those folks have seen Goldfinger.

Vaughn utilities frequent decapitations, impaling, head-shots and bashing believing that those actions alone are worth celebrating, forgetting that in 70’s exploitation films (of which I am a frequent defender) and violent films that are represented by other eras, such violence was utilized primarily, and often only, as a means to an end and was scarcely glorified. It needs to be remembered that Kingsman makes every obvious attempt to ensure we realise that the terrible events we’re baring witness to are happening in a real world, really sitting on the cusp of technological and bio-chemical warfare, and making light of this to sell tickets is entirely different to Ash taking a chainsaw to the face of a Deadite or Freddy Krueger murdering a teenager in their sleep.

Why a creative decision would be made to veer from a crafty set up in which a group of spy aspirants are pitted against each other in an engaging competition to gain title of Kingsman Lancelot, to juvenile, lowest common denominator comedy and uninspired action is beyond me… it really is…

You see, the first half of this film is actually very good, with Colin Firth clearly having a ball channeling his inner James Bond and looking suave in the process,  Taron Egerton easily earning the audiences empathy and attention with his energetic turn including some impressive parkour and Samuel L. Jackson gaining laughs that are cheap, easy but appreciated all the same. His shtick does wear a bit thin, but its great to see him wearing hipster baseball caps and designer clothing, speaking with a lisp and being somewhat relevant again after too long without a memorable role (Tarantino films excluded).

Ultimately, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a shameful missed opportunity; a film that could’ve been at once exciting and highly memorable but instead denied any inspiration and settles with throwing as many dead bodies at the screen as possible. The more blood, the better. This is a pointless outing, and one that disappoints on a whole new level when you consider what it promised to be in the first hour. I’m hugely confident this entry will be the beginning of a blockbuster franchise, and hope with every inch of optimism in my being that going forward more of the budget is allocated to scripting, and less to multicolor head bursting.

2 wide eyed pugs out of 5

32 responses to “Film Review – Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

  1. Good review Jordan. With Vaughn’s movies, his sense of humor sometimes works, and other times, doesn’t. Here, however, I didn’t mind the jokes, just like I didn’t mind the bloody violence either. Just had fun.

    • Glad a few people have agreed with me! I just couldn’t understand why Vaughn had to strip it of any decency and structure and assume that his audience are without a brain.

  2. Holy crap man, your second paragraph absolutely nails it. I hated this thing. Well, okay. ‘Hate’ is a strong term but I disliked it very, very much. Stupid movie and mostly a waste of time with that tasteless ending in mind.

    • Glad you agree Tom! The ending is up there with the most ill founded and unfunny of all time. I can’t remember the last time I was this disappointed watching a movie.

  3. My problem with it had more to do with the execution of the action scenes rather than the over-the-top context or lack thereof. The moment BladeLegs cut the Kingsman in half, I threw my hands in the air since I realized it was going to go the Kick-Ass route.

    • Yeah I thought she was a pretty cool henchwoman but there was nothing original about her. That scene was at a time I was still enjoying the film so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

  4. I think I’d like to see a second opinion from eddie on this one.

    I had fun with it and liked how anytime the flick took itself too seriously it threw in something to remind us we are just here to have a good time!

    Some things were not necessary but had it been the straight forward spy flick it would have been similar to jack ryan or any other jb imitation (see what i did there?) And am glad it didnt fall that way.

    Loved the church scene, the over the top violence, action, jokes and importantly the characters.

    • What did you do there?
      The church scene was indeed very cleverly constructed and was extremely unexpected. I liked it too. I just wish that was the action centerpiece and that the entire rest of the film didn’t serve to undermine it.
      P.S. I too am keen for an Eddie take on this one!

      • Was just a reference to the pugs name from the movie – james bond, jason bourne..

        Shame you didnt find the fun in it but ah well maybe the sequel will please more!

        Hope it gets announced soon!

  5. Wow.. after about 4 mos of Oscar screenings where 98% of those films let’s just say, didn’t end in fun.. Having this screening at the beginning of January for me was a breath of much needed fresh air. I simply put, LOVED IT! I gave it an ‘A’ which is usually reserved for Oscar grade films only..or any James Bond movie. 🙂 though clearly it’s not an Oscar-type movie..but It was sheer wonderful fun, entertainment to watch with a boatload of make-me-laugh-outloud characters that I would love to see again.. Sorry to see you didn’t like it. I don’t know many who didn’t but as with any matter how good one might think it is.. there are always others that don’t. 🙂

    • Great comment! Am very glad you enjoyed it, and wish I did, but it just happened to make me feel uncomfortable where it should’ve been making me laugh. Is interesting to see the diverse comments on this one! At least a couple of people have agreed with me, ha.
      Cheers, Jordan

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