Film Reviews

KINGSMAN: The Secret Service

By • Feb 21st, 2015 •

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The last domain of publicly displaying extravagant wealth is the Saville Row bespoke suit.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ 2012 comic book series, KINGSMAN delivers. As Robert Downey, Jr.’s salary and back end compensation is in the stratosphere, Vaughn has wisely manufactured a new franchise with a relatively unknown lead, 25-year old Taron Egerton. How many films is Egerton contractually obligated to do, because KINGSMAN Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is likely to be the next Jason Bourne.

Unless, of course, KINGSMAN does phenomenal business. Remember the OCEAN’S 11 sequels? THE HANGOVER sequels? HORRIBLE BOSSES 2? It doesn’t look good for KINGSMAN keeping its adult edge. No one said a word when Jack Sparrow went from archly fey to ladies man.

KINGSMAN has two controversial scenes. Both are terrific. I will not spoil it for you.

KINGSMAN is a super-secret organization based on King Arthur’s round table – but now it is oblong shaped. Once anointed a Kingsman, you get a medieval moniker and then a bespoke suit.

When one of the Kingsman, Lancelot (Jack Davenport), dies trying to free kidnapped scientist (Mark Hamill), the rest of the Kingsman must offer a candidate to replace him.

Kingsman Harry Hart (Colin Firth) gets a call from “Eggsy” (Egerton), the son of a former Kingsman. Eggsy is in jail and recalls that when he was a kid he was given a phone number and code word if he ever needed help. Eggsy’s father saved Hart’s life, dying in the process. Hart owes his colleague, so he puts forth Eggsy as his candidate.

Being a Kingsman is not a high-paying gig. There is no pension or life insurance policy for a widow. Eggsy, his mother, her boyfriend and their toddler daughter live in a council house. The boyfriend is a brute ruling a gang of bum thugs.

Each of the candidates must go through a grueling series of highly imaginative tests. Eggsy doesn’t belong – the other candidates have boarding school education and titled benefactors. Eggsy’s humble class is announced every time he speaks. Is it Welsh English or Cockney? It is certainly not like Hart’s “received pronunciation”.

The scientist was kidnapped by a nutty mega-billionaire, track-suit wearing Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). He has a specific plan to dominate the world by “culling the herd” with a clever device. Valentine makes Spectre’s Biofeld look like a used car salesman working out of his garage. He has a terrific hench-woman, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). Gazelle has been retro-fitted with razor-sharp Oscar Pistorius blade runner legs.

Lisping happily, Valentine also knows the spy movie coda. He tells Hart – when they finally meet – that he – as the diabolical villain if indeed this was a movie – is not going to be so stupid as to walk away and let his thugs kill Hart and then have Hart get away in an ingenious way and then foil his plans for world domination.

KINGSMAN explores crazy-craft, class prejudice, great tailoring, and kickass killing.

How many kills were in JOHN WICK? Wick killed 76 people with close range head shots. According to the people who actually counted, Arnold Schwanzengger is at the top of the “movie kill list” with a career high of 369 kills. Chow Yun Fat comes in second at 295. The number of kills Hart makes in KINGSMAN – in a sensational set piece that has now set the bar – has not been tallied yet. But it’s easily going to surpass John Wick’s. Or, will Valentine’s long distance tally count?

Firth is outstanding and suave, svelte, and wears that custom-made suit to perfection. With his scene-stealing #1 controversial scene and the ending – #2 controversial scene (it’s not controversial it’s just naughty), KINGSMAN is the movie to see.

Together with screenwriting partner Jane Goldman, director Matthew Vaughn liberally doses KINGSMAN with clever dialogue and that awesome, must-see Hart massacre.

Member of Boadcast Film Critics Association:

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at

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