Eggsy is a poor kid who lives in a London neighborhood. He’s got nothing going for him. His stepfather is abusive, his mom seems content to do nothing about it, and he sure as hell isn’t going to college anytime soon. He is also a bit of a criminal. He is smart and athletic, but his life is going nowhere.
His (Taron Egerton) most recent legal troubles actually do him a favor for once, as he gets the attention of Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Harry is a member of a highly secret spy organization that is the modern version of King Arthur’s Roundtable. Harry picks up on Eggsy’s potential, bails him out of jail, and offers him a job. Eggsy accepts and is carted off to the secret training facility.
Elsewhere, Professor James Arnold (Mark Hamill) is abducted by entrepreneur, tech guru, and philanthropist, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). Professor Arnold specializes in climate change and Valentine is very interested in his work.
While Eggsy is training, Harry is working on investigating a series of attacks against his fellow agents. The attacks are courtesy of Valentine’s henchmen, who are led by Gazelle (Sofia Boutella); his top goon with some special talents. Harry is attacked, but is unable to figure out who is responsible for it. When he comes out of his coma, he resumes his investigation. Eventually, he starts to suspect Valentine.
After a while, so many agents have died that Eggsy and another recruit named Roxy (Sophie Cookson) are brought in to assist with solving this mystery and stopping Valentine from implementing his evil plan.
WOW! What did I just see? I mean, I am going to attempt to describe what I saw, but I really have no words that can accurately describe this experience.
I have to start off by saying that I had absolutely no interest in this movie. I didn’t think it looked any good to be honest. Even the reviews didn’t sway me. It was the She – at the encouragement of her mom – that really wanted to check it out. My mother-in-law said it was really good and since the She wanted to see it, I decided to give it a shot and I am glad that I did.
This movie is highly stylized. It’s one of those super unrealistic action movies, which I fully admit I do not often like (though there are a few I enjoy). There’s a lot of slow motion, super slick fight scenes, and explicit violence. It’s also really fucking funny. This movie has some funny one-liners here and there, but at a certain point, it just goes all out with the humor, which is what really won me over. I liked it before that, but when it went balls out with the humor, I was hooked. This movie starts out feeling a lot like Red, but by the time it finishes up almost feels like Austin Powers and Shaun of the Dead. It is bizarre mix of action, humor, and nods to old spy flicks. But you know what? It works seamlessly. It’s brilliant to be honest. It was really violent, but almost cartoony in its execution. It was graphic, but so silly, so you are never offended or grossed out. The music was also awesome. I might have to buy this soundtrack.
The acting was great too. Newcomer Taron Egerton was fantastic. I look forward to seeing more from him in the future. The kid had some real charisma in this role. Colin Firth was fantastic as his mentor. I’ve never seen him in anything like this, but he did not look out of place at all. Harry is the one who recruits Eggsy, but Mark Strong’s character trains them; so he too had that mentor thing going on. Like Firth, he was really good at it too. Samuel L. Jackson was borderline award worthy. I know movies like this never get attention from awards shows, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good performance. It was his best role in ages. He was really funny and portrayed the epitome of an old Bond villain if a Bond villain was in an extremely graphic and modern take on the genre.
I highly recommend this movie. The entertainment value is through the roof.
Rating: Thumbs up.
This review was written for your reading pleasure on June 19, 2015.
What She said
Strangely enough, I have to say that I was first introduced to Kingsman: The Secret Service by my mother, who actually went to see it in the theater with my grandfather. She really liked this spy action thriller. I was half interested in seeing it, but knew I’d be waiting for it to hit the significantly smaller screen of my living room TV. When I finally did sit down and get a chance to watch this movie I was shocked, mainly by the fact that I knew my 84+ year old grandfather had sat through it. The film was note quite was I expected—it’s light and funny, yet viciously violent and gory. Yeah, I can see my mom liking it, but for some it may be a sensory overload.
Kingsman tells the story of a secret non-affiliated international spy network based in London. They’re pretty much unknown, except within their own circles, but have plenty of funding and thus awesome gadgets and weapons. We’re introduced to the crew via a flashback, in which we see a young recruit die saving some of his colleagues. One of those colleagues is Harry Hart aka Galahad aka Colin Firth. Galahad makes a point of visiting the agent’s widow and gives her young son a special medal with a phone number and code to use if they ever get in a bind.
Seventeen years later, another Kingsman, code-named Lancelot, is killed in action while trying to save an academic who specializes in global warming/environmental stuff. The Kingsman always recruit immediately following a vacancy, and so Lancelot’s death means that it’s time to bring in some young blood. Each Kingsman nominates a recruit, and these kids are the cream of the crop. They are highly educated, immensely talented, and capable of becoming trained killers. Galahad seeks out and convinces Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton), the child from 17 years prior, to try out for the Kingsman. I think he feels like he owes it to the kid, whose father’s death pretty much meant the downfall of the family. His mother is a mess who is involved in all kinds of bad stuff, including an abusive guy. And Eggsy himself is on a one-way train to nowhere, himself unemployed, getting in trouble, and not really contributing to society in a positive way. To make matters worse, he has an infant half-sister to think about.
Eggsy agrees and is whisked away to Kingsman headquarters where he meets other recruits. They begin training and the highly competitive elimination process that will whittle down the crew to just one new Lancelot. Believe it or not, Eggsy does very well, but he still is number two.
While this is going on, the rest of the Kingsman have been investigating various disappearances of high level individuals from across the globe—the latest of whom is a Scandinavian princess. They begin to suspect a link between tech billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and the kidnappings. They also think Valentine was involved with Lancelot’s murder. Valentine, a renowned philanthropist, is well liked by many. He makes even more friends when he announces that he will be giving away free SIM cards that will enable anyone on Earth to get free cell phone and internet coverage. For the Kingsman, getting close to Valentine is not easy—he has a henchwoman named Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) who has a remarkable talent at slicing people up with her prosthetic legs.
So, yada, yada, yada, it turns out that the free SIM cards that practically everyone now has is part of an evil plan hatched by Valentine, and the Kingsman must step in to save the world. And don’t worry, Eggsy becomes very necessary to the cause, and so we get to see him act as a Kingsman, use crazy cool gadgets, and engage in some pretty epic fights with bad guys.
My description actually put emphasis on some of the less lengthy parts of the storyline of this film, so don’t misunderstand what I’ve written out—this movie is filled with good action. The process by which the initiates are weeded out for the Kingsman post, and the actual conflicts between the Kingsman and Valentine’s crew are epic. Really fun stuff, for sure. If nothing else, I can say that this movie is NOT predictable. And that’s actually what I really liked about it. Even the general vibe that it gave off was different from what I had experienced in the past. It feels like a classic spy film ala James Bond, and yet it clearly is not that—there’s much more humor and exponentially more graphic violence. I was not shocked to learn after the film that it was created by the same people who did Kickass.
Because of the odd air of this movie, I’d say that it probably appeals to a fairly narrow audience. You have to be OK with seeing some crazy gore—I mean lots and lots of severed limbs—but it’s also a little smarter than you typical slasher action too. I guess The He and I kind of fall right into the audience that they’re looking to appeal to. Young- to middle-aged adults who are OK with some boundary pushing film techniques. Funny that I didn’t mind all the graphic kills in this film, but that the stuff in Game of Thrones really bothered me. I think that’s because here we’re dealing with straight-up thriller action fluff—no torture, no rape, and no killing of animals—just over the top deaths that aren’t meant to be overly realistic.
Anyway, the storyline of this film is good. It’s not super heavy and I didn’t see any huge plot holes. It’s actually well-written and feels fresh. The movie does not drag and was very well filmed. While some of the special effects were pretty bad (think cartoonish), the fight scenes looked very good. That’s because they were real and well-choreographed.
The acting is great in this film. Colin Firth is surprisingly fun—who would have thought that Mr. Darcy had this side to him? Taron Egerton, who I’ve never seen before, was good as Eggsy. Samuel L. Jackson was hilarious in his role as Richmond Valentine. And Michael Caine and Mark Hamill are also involved with the film. Caine is Chester King aka Arthur, who is the leader of the Kingsman. Hamill plays Professor James Arnold, the guy who is kidnapped early in the film.
Overall, I really liked this movie, which I guess says something about me. It was much different than I had been expecting—way more over-the-top—but also was pretty fun. It certainly was entertaining for me, and for that reason I will recommend it to those who are not squeamish to a little blood and guts.