Has a few moments that amused me, but there wasn’t a full scene that I fully admired. Kingsman features a league of dapper British spies concocted from a whacked out comic book that only fanboys would be familiar with, and while they abide to a gentlemanly code they tend to engage in lots of gratuitous violence. The directing effort here is by Matthew Vaughn whom throws in such gory amputations and head burstings into his work that I am turned off by his movies the moment he squares good guys against bad guys or good guys against slightly less good guys. He loves a blood-thrashing brawl. I would guess Vaughn’s life interest stems from heavy metal remixes of “Scarface” and “Natural Born Killers” with all the interesting dialogue toned out, and the Guy Ritchie canon. Here’s a stylish but overpraised director with no taste.
Like Vaughn’s earlier movie I all-out hate “Kick-Ass,” he laces what momentarily feels like a light-hearted romp with a glee for gratuitous violence. A simple bam won’t do, no, characters have to bash each other’s brains out.
It’s nearly a pleasure at first glance to see Colin Firth as the old hand British agent named Harry Hart, whom you just want him for the heck of it to say “Oh dear, chap!” at the walk-in of every scene. Hart ends up mentoring his fellow dead agent’s son Eggsy (Taron Egerton), an unlikeable teenage thug whom over the passage of agency training becomes decently likeable. Michael Caine as the boss sits in one room the entire movie, presiding over course of action. I can’t imagine Caine himself caring if he ever sees the movie he’s in.
Mark Strong has the sergeant drill instructor role who is just as handy with high-tech arsenal like the rest of the crew. Before he gets any action, he has to oversee the training sequences, one of which he sends his recruits on one test to sky-dive from 30,000 feet high. Among the six recruits, one parachute doesn’t work. We get one of those just-in-time parachute deployments from only 300 feet high, and the editing has lots of jagged cuts during the last moments of falling. Of course, the recruit holding onto a teammate, lands hard without breaking a single bone. I would like to see a skydiving scene in my lifetime where a director holds a shot for more than ten seconds (Critic’s recall: 1979’s “Moonraker” and 1991’s “Point Break”).
What did I like about the movie? I kinda got split-second jollies from Samuel L. Jackson who goes through his entire movie with a lisp and comes off as a spoiled brat internet genius who turns into diabolical villain. The plan is to rid the Earth of 99% of its population by using cell phone chips to warp peoples’ minds and turn them into homicidal psychos. Starting again with his own master race comes right out of the cartoonish fun James Bond movies. Eggsy knows something about the old James Bond movies – a surprise, because for awhile, I didn’t think the character knew anything about anything. His transformation from hooligan to dapper spy is one of the more recent laborious stretches in screenwriting.
I didn’t have fun with “Kingsman” plain and simple. But if you like ultraviolent cartoons then it might be your cup of tea.
129 Minutes. Rated R.
ACTION / COMIC BOOK MOVIE / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY
Film Cousins: “Moonraker” (1979); “Wanted” (2008); “The Losers” (2010); “Kick-Ass” (2010).