"Kingsman: The Secret Service"
Release Date: Feb. 13, 2015
Running Time: 129 minutes
The rollicking spy parody Kingsman: The Secret Service longs for the days when James Bond was James Bond. You know, the serial womanizer who was as quick with a pun as he was with his trusty Walther PPK; who took on megalomaniacs intend on world domination without breaking a sweat; and who gladly covered up his emotional scars with the best Savile Row suits his MI6 salary could buy. That, of course, was before Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer forced the Bond producers to turn 007 into a spy who wrestled with his demons while undertaking missions in real-world situations. Unsurprisingly, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn name-checks Bond, Bourne, and Bauer in his bright and brash adaptation of the comic book “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. There’s even a big nod to Harry Palmer, the working-class spy Michael Caine played in the 1960s and the 1990s. Caine is head of the Kingsmen, a hush-hush independent intelligence agency that places as much emphasis on its gentlemanly ways as it does on saving the day. The elegant Colin Firth’s Kingman is named Harry Hart, and the recruit he takes under his wing is a light-fingered ruffian who shares Palmer’s distain for and distrust of the upper class. Eggsy, who is played by the appropriately rough-around-the-edges Taron Egerton, Eggsy quickly learns from Hart that you don’t have to be born a gentleman to be gentleman because, as Hart loves to say, manners maketh man. While Kingsman seems to have little time for Bourne and Bauer, Bond informs almost every moment of Hart’s efforts to train Eggsy while he seeks to uncover a nefarious plot against humanity by Samuel L. Jackson’s tech billionaire. Kingsman goes old-school Bond big at every available opportunity, from the mad gadgets at the Kingsmen’s disposal to the cartoonish bad guy Jackson plays with a slight lisp and a knowing grin to Jackson's lovely but lethal henchwoman (Sofia Boutella), his scheme to change the world as we know it, and his remote hidden lair. Most important, Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman tell Kingsman in the same winking fashion as the Bonds that starred Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. What sets Kingsman apart from the Bonds of yesterday are its highly stylized violence, which Vaughn stages with frenzied abandon, its willingness to treat women as more than sexual conquests, and a second-act twist that proves quite shocking. Plus, Kingsman places significant emphasis on fleshing out the characters of Hart and Eggsy and developing a strong—ahem—bond between mentor and mentee. Kingsman is what we imagine Bond would be like in the hands of Quentin Tarantino.
Aired: Feb. 12, 2015
Web site: http://www.kingsmanmovie.com/