Turning Traditions, Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret State is one if the best films I have seen in a long time.

A lover of all things to do with spying and espionage I had high hopes for this film and was not disappointed.

The film has everything, it is funny, full of action, dramatic and even sexy. The plot is not complex but for a film of this nature it is surprising and not so obvious that you can work it out immediately. Expect to have to cover your eyes or hold your breath as the film really pushes you to the edge of your seats. 

The story centres on a secret organisation based in Britain called the Kingsmen, but it is independent of any government affiliation. The organisation embodies all the traditional perceptions of the British security services, in their old fashioned ways as a bit of a gentleman’s club; associated with the aristocracy and members from Oxbridge (this makes from brilliant humour on a number of occasions but especially in one crack about universities).

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) attempts to compensate for past failure by recruiting the son of a deceased colleague. The bright and brilliant delinquent Eggsy (Tarin Egerton) must prove himself against the youth of the aristocracy in order to achieve a coveted place as part of the Kingsmen.

The film has everything, it is funny, full of action, dramatic and even sexy.

Meanwhile the billionaire businessman Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) subverts stereotypes as the American version of a Bond villain. Valentine, surprisingly has good intentions, but his mad scheme will (obviously) cause world-wide disaster that only Eggsy and the other protagonists can stop to save the day. So the plot is a little obvious, but not exactly the same thing you’ve seen again and again.

The film is aware of the tradition it is playing into, using the tropes of Bond villains and satire of the Austin Powers films to pave a new way, a comedy that is not entirely satire but is certainly self-mocking. The violence is gratuitous in a shockingly funny way, as are the few sex references and the overly caricatured villains. We see plenty if stylised explosions, people being sliced shot, bludgeoned and worse, I will not lie, I had to shut my eyes through some bits. Despite this we can easily identify with the sentiment of the film; we want the criminal Eggsy to beat the toffs and win his place.

After seeing this on Valentine’s Day, I would be inclined to say it’s the perfect date film (I’m not a fan of chick flicks). While the humour won’t appeal to everyone, it will encompass a wide audience from teenagers to older generations who grew up with Bond.

The film is a hilarious reworking of the genre, and I strongly recommend biting the bullet and giving it a go, even if you do have to cover your eyes in some parts.


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