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.