“Kingsman: The Secret Service”
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexuality and graphic violence
In English and Swedish with subtitles
Running time: 129 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is such an unassuming, buttoned-downed bloke that no one in his right mind would suspect him to be a highly-skilled secret agent capable of killing at the drop of a derby. But as a Kingsman, he belongs to an exclusive fraternity of nattily-attired spies who abide by the motto “Manners Maketh Man.” Members of this covert organization consider themselves modern-day knights, and they see their suits as body armor.
Despite an otherwise distinguished service record, Harry still regrets the mistake he made during a 1997 operation in the Middle East that cost a colleague his life. Today, Harry hopes to make it up to his dearly departed partner by taking on his orphaned son, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), as a protégé. This will be easier said than done since, besides completing the requisite Navy SEAL-like training program, the young apprentice has a lot of rough edges that need smoothing, including a grating cockney accent. For, the lad grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, so he could use a few lessons in etiquette, ala My Fair Lady’s Eliza Doolittle.
Meanwhile, a matter of more pressing concern comes to Harry’s attention, namely, a plot being hatched by a proverbial diabolical villain bent on world domination. That would be Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a twisted tech mogul who’s in the midst of giving away billions of free SIM cards ensuring free phone calls and free internet access for everyone, forever. All over the planet, people are standing in long lines for the freebies, oblivious of an apocalyptic app they’re about to simultaneously download into their cells.
Adapted from the comic book series “The Secret Service, Kingsman” is an adrenaline-fueled satire of the espionage genre which, at every turn, will have you harking back to the early James Bond adventures starring Sean Connery. The picture was directed by Matthew Vaughn who co-wrote the script with Jane Goldman, the same collaborator on the equally-inspired “Kick-Ass” (2010).
Colin Firth is delightfully debonair, here, whether turning on the charm or dispatching bad guys. Samuel L. Jackson is just as amusing cast against type as his worthy adversary with a flamboyant persona complete with lisp. A nostalgic homage to 007 that’s also the most mesmerizing movie of the year thus far.