WHAT IT’S ABOUT: After the ‘Kingsman’ loses agent ‘Lancelot’ (Jack Davenport) in the field, the British intelligence agency sets out to find a replacement to join their ranks. Kingsman agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who is tasked with taking over Lancelot’s mission, sees potential in troublemaker and Royal Marines dropout “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) and inducts the young man into a gruelling Kingsman training regime. There, the misfit Eggsy finds a more constructive purpose for his skills and competes against uppity candidates in the hopes of being selected as Lancelot’s successor. Meanwhile, Harry continues Lancelot’s work in investigating Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a well-meaning internet billionaire orchestrating an extremely violent event to solve the world’s environmental crisis. When Valentine proves to be too deadly an opponent, Eggsy realises that he and a handful of Kingsman agents are all that stand in the way of a global catastrophe.
WHY WATCH IT: Kingsman: The Secret Service is one of those movies that surprises you; the trailers and posters make it look like a clichéd attempt to give the world a new Cody Banks or Alex Rider, yet the well-dressed gentleman agents (particularly their protégé Eggsy) prove to be worthy initiates to the spy film genre. Despite its lack of originality, standard-issued plot and average characters, Kingsman impressively manages to thrill and entertain with its cool action scenes, well-timed humour and gadgets that every young man will fantasize about.
What sets Kingsman apart from countless other flopped action films is that it does not waste the audience’s time with unnecessary side-plot drama; it knows where its entertainment value lies and it appreciatively never deviates from the main mission. Much of the film centres on Eggsy’s training, which is thoroughly enjoyable to watch and occasionally nail-biting. Jackson‘s Valentine could admittedly do without his awkward lisp, but the ironically pacifistic villain is strangely likeable. Of greater note is Valentine’s bodyguard; the assassin Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) fights acrobatically with bladed prosthetic legs, and the character is reminiscent of the memorable James Bond villains.
Kingsman does deserve to be recognised in its own right, but where comparisons to other spy films are inevitable, the movie and its premise are potentially a light-hearted James Bond for the 21st century youth. And that is saying something.
WHY SKIP IT: As previously mentioned, Kingsman is far from original and its plot and characters lack depth. It does not have the classic trademark moments of Mission: Impossible, nor the weight and impact of 007. Its weak foundations make us sceptical about the possibility of worthy sequels, and developing Eggsy and his suits into a film franchise is a high-risk investment that should only be pursued if in the most talented of hands. Kingsman is also first and foremost a light-hearted movie, and viewers wishing for serious espionage films will not appreciate the (commendable) boyish humour. It should also be noted that some of the film’s material is not suitable for children. Yet, it is undeniable that Kingsman is fun to watch, and that is good enough reason to hop on the adventure.
Rating: 3.5/5 (TALK-o-meter: “Good, not great.”)