Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn’s latest film Kingsman: The Secret Service drops the audience in another uber-violent world, but this time psychotic superheroes have been replaced by classy, well-dressed spies. It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but by indulging in Vaughn’s patented style of visually brilliant mania, the film succeeds in delivering an exhilarating ride into the world of espionage.
The plot, loosely based on Mark Millar’s comic book series The Secret Service, follows the exploits of Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, a young chav recruited to an intelligence agency by the suave gentleman spy Harry Hart, played perfectly by Colin Firth. As Eggsy endures the intense training to become a Kingsman agent, Hart investigates an evil plot orchestrated by Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine, a billionaire tech genius comparable to some of the more wacky Bond villains.
Kingsman isn’t an intelligent film, but it is fun to see the classic spy genre flipped on its head in such ridiculous fashion. Every actor is on point and fits well into every bizarre scene from a fountain of exploding heads to a legless woman slicing people up with razor sharp prosthetics. However, the film reaches its apex far too early with Firth stealing the show in what is quite possibly the most brutal, disturbing, and utterly spectacular fight scene I have ever seen.
Naturally though, with so much action packed into a two hour run time, Kingsman doesn’t leave much room for a story. For the first half Eggsy is in training while Valentine goes about his evil deeds, but the two story arcs are so detached from each other that there seems to be no real plot save for a few scattered scenes of exposition. And unlike many of Vaughn’s earlier films, Kingsman doesn’t offer any real depth behind its violence.
Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service is just a fun watch with some good humour, some solid performances, and some over-the-top visceral madness that seems to have become Vaughn’s signature in recent years. However, I do so long for him to return to his Layer Cake glory days.