Review: 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' is nostalgic spy fun

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
image

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) enter their base. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Marcus Goh is a former Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

Secret ending? No, but there’s a mid-credits scene.

Running time: 129 minutes (~2.25 hours)

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is an action comedy that revolves around the exploits of the secret spy organisation known as the Kingsmen, and their efforts to foil a wealthy megalomaniac’s schemes. It boasts an impressive cast list of Colin Firth (Harry Hart), Taron Egerton (Gary “Eggsy” Unwin), Samuel L. Jackson (Richmond Valentine), Mark Strong (Merlin), Michael Caine (Chester King), and Sophie Cookson (Roxy). It is rated M18.

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a nostalgic throwback to the Sean Connery era of James Bond films, what with its larger-than-iife plots and characters, and emphasis on proper behavior and being a gentleman. It’s an enjoyable film that’s not the usual crash-bang-smash fare that comes with spy movies of today, one that’s quirky, unique, and honest.

image

Harry Hart is licensed to kill. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Highlights

Stylised action scenes

The first thing you’ll note is how the action scenes are filmed with a deliberate attempt at creating a dynamic point of view. It’s a stylised effect that you understand and feel comfortable with right from the beginning, and offers a refreshing change to the usual fights we see. It’s not as flamboyant as say, Sin City or 300, but still manages to catch your attention during each fight.

Black and British humour

With most of the actors being British, it’s no wonder that the humour stands up to British levels. Witty dialogue, self-referential remarks, and tongue-in-cheek comments serve to show how clever British humour can be. There’s also a fair amount of black humour, with violence and gore being stylised to the point of being hilarious. It’s no wonder that this movie got an M18 for its rating.

Excellent cast performances

All of the cast give excellent performances, as befits British actors. Even if it’s just a scene of talking heads, they manage to imbue their characters with enough subtext and layering to make each interaction interesting - even if there’s really nothing below the surface.

Richmond Valentine is a hoot

Samuel L. Jackson plays Richmond Valentine, antagonist of the movie and a lisping magnate with lofty plans to save the world. He brings none of his usual fierce and authoritarian portrayals with RIchmond Valentine, instead opting to play him as a nearly effectual, helpless creature that nonetheless threatens the entire world.

image

Harry Hart has a view to kill. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Letdowns

No clear central character

The screen time is split quite evenly across the two major protagonists, but this lack of focus on elevating one over the other hurts the storytelling quite abit. Who is the film about? Perhaps it was a matter of artiste management, but it would have helped to establish one main character.

Film is slightly too long

Of course, one of the drawbacks of British cinema is that the movie can meander a little before getting to the point, which is what happens in the first half of the movie (with Eggsy’s training sequence). It’s not a dealbreaker though.

image

Harry prepares to teach these hoodlums that the world is not enough. (Twentieth Century Fox)

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a refreshing take on the spy genre, and provides plenty of chuckles and fighting to fill both humour and action appetites. Ultimately, it’s a movie made to entertain, not one with deep and complex meanings, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the tone of the movie.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? Why yes, indeed.

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Indeed.

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" opens in cinemas 12 February, 2015 (Thursday).

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting