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Kingsman: The Secret Service is just another violent spy movie


Veteran Colin Firth and newcomer Taron Egerton star in the violent spy movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Jim Zittlaw | The Griff | Lifestyles | March 2nd, 2015

EDMONTON (CUP) — In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) directs the ever-reliable Brit actor Colin Firth as Harry Hart, an elite spy who works for the Kingsmen, a sort of modern day knights.

In a bloody bar brawl early in the film, Hart proves it’s not the pen that’s mightier than the sword – it’s the umbrella. Or at least, his umbrella. It’s bulletproof and can fire projectiles.

The Kingsmen live in a world of perfect suits, perfect manners, and perfectly absurd gadgets – many of them lifted from the old Bond films.

It’s into this world that Hart attempts to recruit middle-class Eggsy (newcomer Taron Egerton) to become a new operative. The film wanders into the thorny arena of class relations, but simply uses that arena to stage gleefully tasteless action sequences.

Vaughn has fun with the spy genre. For example, the standard Kingsman uniform includes the same thick-rimmed glasses worn by Michael Caine in his 1960’s spy films. Of course, the glasses are actually essential gadgets in dayto- day Kingsman operations. And Caine himself is cast as the organization’s leader.

“I always felt the old Bond films were only as good as the villain,” Firth deadpans while at dinner with the movie’s bad guy – a lisping, flamboyant Internet billionaire played by Samuel L. Jackson.

He has an insane scheme, and the movie quite literally doesn’t pull its punches in the scheme’s execution. The final act ratchets up the insanity, but a few missteps lowered my enjoyment.

Firth’s character doesn’t participate in the climax, and Eggsy makes a poor substitute. With his rough edges all smoothed out, he’s reduced to a smirking cypher of a spy. It also turns out that some girl, not Eggsy, is selected as the newest Kingsman operative.

Prior to this, her only function was providing some forced heterosexual tension.

When Eggsy battles the villain, sure, the girl gets to tag along. She even makes a major contribution to the battle. But it is quickly undone and she gets nothing else to do as the end credits approach.

The questionable treatment of women continues as (SPOILER ALERT) a mother becomes brainwashed into murdering her own child. Her horrifying attempts are intercut with the climax’s otherwise fun action of Eggsy fighting an assassin with blades for legs.

Finally, a jailed princess offers herself to Eggsy if he can save the day, which he does. He then enters her cell to take his reward. It’s uneasy as hell. Imagine the endings of Bond films like The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker if they were R-rated.

If you’d like to see the spy genre get lovingly – and violently – skewered, go see Kingsman: The Secret Service. But if you already have no taste for the genre, this film will not make it palatable.
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