A young, brash street kid is invited to join an elite British spy organization and discovers something about himself, as well as within himself as he combats a global threat in the wildly entertaining film, Kingsman: The Secret Service.
For over five decades, everything we know about British spies we’ve learned from watching 007, super-spy, James Bond. His smooth, elusive style, created by Ian Fleming, has re-defined the action spy drama and his been brilliantly updated by director Matthew Vaughn.
After a member of the ultra-secret fraternity, the Kingsman is killed in battle by billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine’s (Samuel L. Jackson) henchwoman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), the remaining members each nominate a candidate to take his place. Team leader, Harry Hart’s (Colin Firth) choice is the brash, rebellious son of another fallen agent, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who despite his rough-and-tumble demeanor turns out to possess the leadership, smarts and guile in order to outwit his more accomplished blue-blood peers.
As Eggsy continues to avoid minefields designed to trip him up, Valentine has hatched an elaborate plan to use free phone service to wreck global havoc. Armed for battle with the razor-sharp leg prosthesis of Gazzelle, he controls his foes with a mind-control device or keeps them hostage in his underground, secret basement lair.
As a member of the secret spy unit, Firth is the prototypical dashing British gentlemen, whose cover of tailor by day and international man of mystery by night is perfect casting. He is suave and dashing but as the story unfolds has the necessary ability to beat down a group of baddies at the drop of a hat. Solid supporting turns by both veteran actors Michael Caine and Mark Strong, also bolster Vaughn’s strong cast.
Vaughn who has directed both X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass, brings that brash approach to this spy thriller, shaking, stirring and flipping the concept inside out. Clearly the Bond franchise was his inspiration and Vaughn recognizes that this type of story is as strong as it’s villain and Jackson’s Valentine is a doozy. Channeling former hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Jackson is deliciously evil as a man who entertains at a dinner party serving McDonald’s cuisine. Jackson manages to play the villain with a much-appreciated twinkle in his eye giving us the impression that he is having as much fun with the character as we are.
In the grand tradition of infamous Bond villains, the beautiful, knife-wielding Gazelle deserves her own special place. Graced with the athletic ability to slice a human in half, Boutella possesses the beauty and special skills that will surely make her a memorable character. Filled with an array of contemporary gadgets, gorgeous scenery and humorous situations, Kingsman: The Secret Service is an enjoyable and welcome chip off of the Bond tree. Somewhere, Sean Connery is smiling broadly!