Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
From the mind of Mark Millar and the direction of Matthew Vaughn comes Kingsman: The Secret Service; an adrenaline fueled spy thriller that is over the top, ridiculously absurd and above all else, relentlessly entertaining. Kicking off 2015’s slate of comic book movies in fantastic form, this action packed escapade is an absolute must-see.
The plot follows young miscreant Gary “Eggsy” Unwin as he is recruited by a man named Harry Hart to join a top secret espionage organisation known as Kingsman. However, when the group uncovers a nefarious scheme put into motion by a renowned tech mogul, Eggsy finds that their fate and ultimately that of the entire planet rests in his hands.
The pace darts along rapidly, meaning there is never a dull moment. The action sequences are pulse pounding and flawlessly executed, often being as graphically violent as they are incessantly engrossing. Highlights include an unconventional bar brawl, a shockingly vicious church frenzy and a thrilling final act that pushes the levels of tension and suspense to dizzying heights.
The choreography of the fight scenes is combined with pitch perfect cinematography and a rousing score to create some of the most exciting set pieces that have been committed to film in recent times. They’re further enhanced by magnificent special effects that add plenty of glamorous visuals.
The narrative rarely takes itself too seriously. There are plenty of lighthearted and amusing moments, all of which are well balanced with the more dramatic elements. This ensures a consistent tone in which the humour feels as natural to the story as the action and violence.
What really adds a sense of charm and charisma to the proceedings though are its participants. A carefully constructed script and absorbing performances by the main cast give viewers an engaging ensemble of well developed and likable characters with which to experience the story.
Up and coming Welsh actor Taron Egerton is exemplary in his portrayal of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. While he begins as something of a deviant, Egerton channels an enormous amount of compassion into the character. He immediately establishes Eggsy as a cheeky but courageous individual, setting him up as a protagonist for which audiences will want to root.
Colin Firth has a scene stealing turn as Kingsman agent Harry Hart. He plays the role of an unassuming gentlemen to perfection and is exhilarating when the full extent of Hart’s skill set is unleashed. Firth maintains a calm and composed manner that keeps the character unpredictable, building anticipation as to what he might do next.
Samuel L. Jackson does a fine job of crafting an eccentric villainous persona as Richmond Valentine. Jackson sheds his usual cool demeanour to have fun as a maniacal tycoon hell bent on causing chaos. He adds an almost childlike innocence to the role that makes the character seem all the more demented.
Of the rest of the acting talent, Michael Caine is suitably cast as Arthur, the commander of Kingsman. Sophie Cookson is marvellous as Eggsy’s fellow inductee, Roxy. Mark Strong is compelling as ever as resident gadget man, Merlin. Sofia Boutella is appropriately psychotic as Valentine’s personal assassin, Gazelle. And Mark Hamill enjoys a cameo as Professor Arnold in a role that those familiar with the comic will recognise as a nod to the source material.
There genuinely is nothing negative I can say about this movie. The cast, the direction, the script and the soundtrack are all impeccable. Even this early on, Kingsman: The Secret Service has set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the year’s blockbusters. It is a thoroughly enjoyable and fun action thriller.
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