March 21, 2015

Movie: Kingsman The Secret Service (2014)

Filed under: Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:40 pm

imageA great entertainer, and a different movie from everything else that has come. I can only describe it as British style mixed with half James Bond and half Mission Impossible. The James bond stuff comes in the comical angle where the characters do not seem to take themselves very seriously at all, right in the midst of doing superhuman feats. But there is no chasing of skirts in this movie, it is all prim and proper, and very “Shall we do it the right way, then, chaps?” kind of stuff. I know that the British also love double entendre moments, like in the Carry On Series but this one is a more serious British face that the story shows. Of course, you already know that this is also an adaptation from a comic book story, right?

The first surprise is Colin Firth. He has taken a wildly different role from anything else that he has done and what happens to him is shocking in its suddenness. Very interesting.

The second surprise is Samuel L Jackson. What an interesting character! Thoroughly evil with a lisp to boot. Does a wonderful job of the character he has been given and is fully entertaining. Just wonderful to watch, right until the end.

The very improbable storyline exists, a la James Bond. Moving satellites to align with people, mass hypnosis of the entire population of earth to do the evil man’s bidding (no parochial ambition here; like all of the villains of James Bond films – or like Dr Evil, if you want another example – the plan is always global). At every moment, like a Hollywood cartoon adaptation, you see everything in graphics in front of the computer (the evil man’s and also the good Kingsman team which has infiltrated the computer thanks to our young hero) without having to worry about bandwidth, reach or even camera angles of all those remote cameras. But such is the stuff of the exaggerated lore of Kingsmen.

Story? Well. Harry is part of Kingsman secret team and when the team is interrogating a terrorist they caught, he looks up, revealing a grenade in his mouth. Harry’s life is saved by another partner Lee, who covers the terrorist with his body, sacrificing himself. Harry gives Lee’s wife the sad news when he returns to England, and also gives his phone number to her asking her to call if she needs any help. He offers her Lee’s Medal of Valour, which she bitterly rejects. He gives it in the hands of the young son Gary aka “Eggsy”.

The son of Lee, Gary grows up as a bitter, wayward boy and isnearly turning into a petty criminal. His mom has a new boyfriend who is physically abusive.

In the meanwhile in a chalet in Argentina, a group of mafia like thugs have a prisoner, the scientist Professor James Arnold. An interesting tidbit is that the actor playing this scientist, a bit role here, is Mark Hamill, the same man who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars series!  These thugs are vanquished by a single Kingsman Lancelot (yeah?), who nurses a martini while doing it – stylish or what? At the end, there is another knock at the door. Lancelot notices that it is a girl and opens the door only to be sliced in half. (Don’t ask. Okay I will tell you. The girl has a metal leg like the Olympian running prosthetics but it can turn into deadly sharp knives). The scientist is “escorted” under force by her employer, the tech millionaire Richmond Valentine, who cannot stand to see any violence or blood and talks with a charming lisp. (Yes, our own Samuel L Jackson in a delightful role).

When Eggsy gets into trouble with the police (after a brilliant car speeding scene reminding one of Mission Impossible) he calls the number in the back of the medal and utters the catch phrase and miraculously released from custody right away. Harry meets him and also takes care of a number of thugs with just his umbrella in another delightful scene.

When home life turns ugly thanks to his mom’s new boyfriend, Eggy approaches Harry and asks to be a candidate for Kingsman. He competes with a team and loses narrowly to a girl and fails to make the cut. He loses because he refuses to shoot the puppy he had been given and trained for months whereas the girl did that.

When Harry is lost – I will not give the details; but it involves Harry stumbling into the world domination/ annihilation plan of Valentine and therefore having to pay the ultimate prize – Eggsy realizes that it is now all up to him to stop Valentine.

The rest of the movie follows predictable but hugely enjoyable plot, where ultimately the terror network is vanquished, but not before a satellite of the evil empire is disabled, and the evil empire reacts by activating Plan B, which is to take over one of NASA’s own satellite as a replacement and move on with the plan for world chaos, with a huge timer ticking conveniently to show how many minutes are left for that to happen.

Oh, and Michael Caine also appears in a brief role.

Great movie, even if in a very comic book style. Let us say a 7/10

– – Krishna


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