What could be more romantic than an uber-violent action-comedy film on Valentine's Day? We spent Valentine's afternoon at the Big Bear Cinema with our friends from Germany, watching Kingsman: The Secret Service.
PLOT - Based on a comic book series ( which I'm unfamiliar), Kingsman: The Secret Service, is the story of Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a streetwise teenager who is the latest potential recruit into a top secret spy organization called the Kingsman. The movie starts with a Kingsman mission, where one of their own is killed, while saving the life of his friend and fellow Kingsman, Galahad (Colin Firth). The man who is killed, is the father of Eggsy, who at the time is a young child. Galahad visits Eggsy and his mother, who is inconsolable with grief. He gives Eggsy a coin and phone number with a password. If he is ever in trouble, he is to call in this code for a favor.
Fast-forward to Eggsy as a teen. He is living in a dump and his mother is dating an abusive thug. Eggsy finds himself in jail after stealing a car and leading the police on a chase. He uses the code word and Galahad is able to make his arrest go away. Galahad recognizes that Eggsy has potential and he puts Eggsy's name forward for consideration to become part of the Kingsman.
The application process is brutal. Eggsy is living in a co-ed dorm with other recruits, who are one-by-one eliminated from the process when they fail a series of seemingly life-threatening challenges.
The parallel plot involves a villain named Valentine ( Samuel L. Jackson), an insane billionaire who has a plan for culling the world's population. The Kingsman must build their ranks and get to the bottom of Valentine's plot, before the world is irrevocably changed.
LIKE - This film is fun. A lot of fun. It works because it's so utterly outrageous and over-the-top. It never takes itself seriously. Yet, with this, from a writing perspective, I didn't find myself questioning the plot or the motives of the characters. It's a solid story, which is often hard to come by. There is so much creativity and style, especially with the weapons and costumes. I loved the swiss-army knife umbrella that just seemed to be able to handle every task. I always love Colin Firth and Michael Caine ( who doesn't?), but I was caught off-guard with how much I liked the younger cast, in particular Egerton as Eggsy and Sophie Cookson as his fellow recruit, Roxy. They more than held their own against the veteran stars. The movie also has lots of adorable puppies. It's impossible to dislike a movie with puppies!
DISLIKE - I can't believe that I'm saying this, but I didn't like Samuel L. Jackson in the role of Valentine. It's probably not so much Jackson's portrayal, as it was the character of Valentine. He's an odd Villain, a bit too goofy and eccentric, channeling Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. Every time the story switched from the Kingsman's recruitment process, to Valentine's scenes, the momentum of the film dropped.
RECOMMEND - Yes. Kingman: The Secret Service is just such a fun ride. Be warned that it rivals a Tarantino film for violence and it is definitely not for kids or people who shy away from graphic films. It's done in a somewhat fake, comedy way, but it's still graphic. I was shocked by the amount of young children in the audience during our screening.