Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kingsman: The Secret Service

A very British feeling film, setting lead character Harry Hart [Galahad] (Colin Firth) very much in the mould of John Steed (Patrick Macnee) from the original The Avengers. This is a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the whole genre of spy action movies paying homage to James Bond, Jason Bourne with a hint of Monty Python all set to over-the-top Tarantino-like choreographed showpiece violence. With a star-studded ensemble cast and dialogue that fits the visual landscape of the film, it deserves its plaudits at the hands of critics and the movie-going public alike.

The Britishness is carried by the locations - a London council flat, a local old style pub with villians, a spy HQ accessed through a Saville Row tailor and the notion that the Kingsman are the modern day Knights of the Round Table presided over by Arthur (Michael Caine). Being a Gentleman is the primary calling, national security, a sense of style and getting the bad guys are all secondary considerations.

In a sense the plot is irrelevant as we've seen it a hundred times before in endless spy films. It does have a narrative arc and as always with these films, resolution is inevitable - as is the Bond-like ending! The violence is so theatrical and over-the-top it would be hard for much of it to cause offence but the constant bad language was I felt an unnecessary component - IMDb logging 99 expletives! I guess with that level of violence it was always going to attract a rating so the bad language got in for free as it were.

The gadgets, locations and ingenious escapes all thrill. The acting is good and the characters believable - especially the bad guy's side-kick Gazelle (Sofia Boutella)! With a winning formula, strong cast and good reception at the box office and with the critics, this was always destined to the first of a franchise run. Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released in the autumn of 2017 - let's see how that compares. I'll give this film 7/10.

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