Kingsman: The Secret Service

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During a mission in the Middle East, secret agent Harry Hart is unable to prevent the death of one of his fellow agents. Feeling guilt, he personally delivers a bravery medal to the man’s widow and his young son, Eggsy, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.

Seventeen years later, an unemployed Eggsy, now in his early twenties, gets arrested for joyriding in a stolen car. In police custody, he remembers the medal and calls the number on the back. He is quickly released and met outside the police station by Harry, who introduces him to the world of the secret agency that he and Eggsy’s late father work for, the Kingsmen. Harry is having a drink with Harry at a pub where some local vandals, who are friends with Eggsy’s abusive stepfather, that Eggsy has gotten in trouble with when he is told to leave before a rude remark is made about Harry and his age. Harry then confronts and beats every vandal down, before taking Eggsy to the Kingsmen for training.

Another Kingsman, Lancelot, who was inducted during the mission shown in the opening, is killed by Gazelle, an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs, on a mission to find the missing scientist Professor Arnold, creating a vacancy for a new agent. Harry proposes Eggsy as a candidate; and, together with other young hopefuls including a girl named Roxy, he is enrolled in the training programme designed to weed out the unsuitable until only one candidate remains. The training is overseen by Merlin, a senior Kingsman, and each recruit is assigned a new dog to train in turn. The tests are rigorous, with scenarios implemented (and sometimes fabricated) to push the candidates to their physical and mental limits to assess their courage and ability to work as a team. Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the last two potential candidates. When the head of the Kingsmen, Arthur, instructs him to kill his dog as the final challenge, Eggsy is unable to bring himself to do it; Roxy shoots hers and is given the job. It is revealed later that both Eggsy and Roxy’s pistols, unbeknownst to them at the time, had blanks, and it was strictly a test to see how far they would go.

Meanwhile, the Kingsmen are investigating the activities of the technology tycoon Richmond Valentine, who appears to be a great philanthropist, giving away free SIM cards around the world; but he is suspected of being involved in a number of disappearances of VIPs, including the Swedish Princess. Harry tracks Professor Arnold to his class, where he interrogates him about Valentine’s whereabouts; a chip implanted in Arnold’s head suddenly explodes, killing him and injuring Harry. Once recovered, Harry is sent to investigate and follows a lead to an obscure hate group church in the American Midwest. At the church, Valentine and Gazelle conduct a test, broadcasting a signal to phones containing his SIM card, which causes humans to become uncontrollably violent. As a result, all of the church members, including Harry, break out into an aggressive fight.

Everyone is killed off until only Harry emerges as the sole survivor, only to be confronted and killed by Valentine while Eggsy, Merlin, and Arthur watch via video link. Valentine’s plan becomes clear – he is going to broadcast the signal worldwide, using his satellite network and cause a mass cull of the human race, sparing the Earth from further environmental damage by man. After Harry is killed by Valentine, Eggsy discovers that Arthur is secretly one of the many VIPs that Valentine has implanted with a device to block the signal, similar to the one planted on Arnold’s head, thus guaranteeing their survival. He avoids being killed by Arthur, switching a poisoned glass of brandy and Arthur dies instead.

Eggsy, Roxy, and Merlin head to Valentine’s mountainous secret base to stop Valentine from executing his plan; Roxy will destroy Valentine’s satellite while Eggsy stops Valentine himself. During the raid on Valentine’s base, Eggsy is cornered and Merlin triggers the implanted devices, causing them to explode and kill all of the VIPs who were part of Valentine’s plan. After the VIPs explode, the door where Eggsy is standing opens a small hole where Princess Tilde is being kept. Eggsy leaves Tilde saying he must save the world, to which she replies that he can have anal sex with her. Eggsy then says he will be right back. Eggsy confronts Gazelle and poisons her with a hidden blade in his shoe. Eggsy then grabs one of Gazelle’s prosthetic legs and uses it to kill Valentine. Merlin congratulates him for his success as Eggsy grabs two glasses and champagne and walks back to Tilde. Merlin sees this through Eggsy’s spectacles’ camera before closing the monitors playing back the feed.

In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy confronts his abusive stepfather in the bar when he is a full-fledged Kingsman (in Harry’s place) and the perks include some of the wealth established with the Kingsmen and a home. Here, he repeats the same course of action/fight as when Harry had told Eggsy and discussed about his real father at the bar after being bailed from prison.

REVIEW:

Remember the days when spy films could be fun and over the top as opposed to ultra serious, gritty, and realistic as they are today? Kingsman: The Secret Service is obviously from the school of fun and gadgetry and is something we need in this day and age. We’ve gotten too serious, wouldn’t you agree? As an alternative film the 50 Shades of Porn, this just needs to be a decent flick for guys, but could it actually be more than that?

What is this about?

Seeing untapped potential in a wayward teenager, veteran secret agent Harry Hart recruits the young delinquent and schools him in the skills that will ultimately transform him into a superspy.

What did I like?

Lisp. Most of the time when we see Samuel L. Jackson, he’s playing some guy who talks really loud and hates white people. One of the notable exceptions of this is his character in Unbreakable. The character he plays here is still a bit loud, but for him is a bit subdued, and yet still over the top, but the film dictates the need for an over the top villain, so no big there. What really stood out to me, though, was the lisp that Jackson pulled off. At first, I thought it was just a joke, or part of a disguise, but it turned out to be a characteristic that he kept throughout the entire film, even in his denouement moment, and it worked.

Return of the R. It looks like movie studios are finally starting to wise up ad realize that taking out all the blood and violence in a film that is supposed to have it just to achieve a family friendly PG-13 rating so they can bring a few more bucks in is not the way to go. Not only does this film show heads exploding, people getting stabbed in the eyeballs, impaled, shot in the head, sliced in half, etc, but it does so with the touch of class and dignity that is the overall tone for the film. In truth this is no less or more violent than Shoot ‘Em Up (give or take a couple of killings) when all is said and done. You be the judge on whether that is a good or bad thing.

Move over Neeson. It wasn’t that long ago, I think just before the release of Taken, that we scoffed at the mere thought of Liam Neeson doing an action movie, let alone being one of the top action stars currently out there (even though he was Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace). Now we can barely remember him as a dramatic actor! Well, if this film is any indication, Colin Firth could be following suit. Normally this guy plays the stuffed shirt, proper British types and, in a sense he is still doing that here but the difference is he gets to kick ass and take names! Who would have thought Colin Firth had this in him? Maybe this is just aggression from being replaced as the voice of Paddington in Paddington? Also, I think he does most of his own stunts, but don’t quote me on that.

What didn’t I like?

Speak English. When it comes to British dialects, there is one that is nearly impossible to understand, even if you’re from there…cockney! I believe I brought this up in my review for Cockneys vs. Zombies, it is just nigh impossible to translate. Lo and behold our main protagonist, Eggsy, lives over on the Cockney side of town, so when he goes into the pub and these guys threaten him and Colin Firth, I couldn’t understand half of what they said. I applaud the realism and all, but they could have cleaned it up to Jason Statham level cockney so we Americans could understand it, at least.

There will be blood. I spoke earlier on how it was to have a film that isn’t afraid to show people getting killed, but there was one killing that I have to take issue with. Early on, one of the Kingsman gets sliced in half. Nothing wrong with that, except there was no blood! In every other killing we see blood, but in what is perhaps the most gruesome death of the whole film there was nothing. Now, I wasn’t expecting something akin to a fatality from Mortal Kombat, but we literally see the two halves of his body laying there on the floor and still no blood! People’s heads blow up later in the film and, while we don’t see blood and brains, we do at least the bloody stumps left behind. What was so offensive about blood in this one kill, I wonder?

Take me to church. One of the scenes that will be talked about in this film is one involving a church in Kentucky. I had no problem with the scene, in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character does a test on this congregation, which results in the inhibition of their aggression being fulfilled. Unfortunately for them, Firth’s character is in there as well, and it is just a glorious scene to watch these self-righteous, racist, closed-minded rednecks get what’s coming to them. My issue with the scene is the reaction that it is sure to draw. Yes, it is a statement, but so are a lot of things in this film, but you know how it is when you even look at a church the wrong way in a film. If not for that other movie that came out this weekend, I’m sure Fox News and similar networks would have a field day with this scene. Such a shame, because it is great!

All in all, I must say Kingsman: The Secret Service is a very fun time. A very stylized picture, with hints at old spy film, and also some meta moments, as well. It does provide with one of the rare times Mark Strong is not the bad guy and some political satire and messages that probably need to be heard, whether we like it or not. One thing is for sure, after watching this, I wanted to go out and get fitted for a suit, and I hate wearing the things! Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Why are you sitting there reading this? Go, rush out and see this!!! If you’re on the fence about whether to see this or 50 Shades of Bondage, well I can only speak for what I’ve seen and this…is…AWESOME!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

  1. […] This is going to sound extremely hypocritical of me, especially after praising the violence in Kingsman: The Secret Service, but I actually liked that there was no real violence. Sure there is the gunfight at the end, this […]

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