Friday, February 20, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service - 3 stars

This is a really unique movie.  It’s kind of a parody of James Bond movies, but at the same time it’s also a pretty serious action movie.  For the first 45 minutes or so, the tone wasn’t working for me at all.  But then the movie got more and more fun, and by the end I was loving it.

The Kingsman is a secret service organization.  The members are all named after members of King Arthur’s knights – the trainer is even named Merlin.  Their headquarters is a tailor shop on Savile Row, because even when fighting for your life and saving the world, a spy should look and act like a gentleman.

The movie mostly focuses on Eggsy, a young troublemaker whose father was a kingsman.  Years ago his father was killed saving the life of fellow agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), and Harry recruits Eggsy to join the service.  The training program is over-the-top ridiculous, involving things like their room suddenly filling up with water while they sleep.  They have only a minute to figure out how to escape or they’ll be drowned.  Another exercise involves them jumping out of a plane and one of them doesn’t have a parachute.

While Eggsy is being trained, internet billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is threatening to unleash something that will kill like 99% of Earth’s population.  Jackson speaks in a weird lisp that was kind of off putting at first, but it grew on me.  Valentine has a henchwoman with mechanical legs loaded with machetes, which is just awesome.

As the movie gets closer to the climax, it gets crazy.  I couldn’t believe how far it was going, and it was hilarious.  I won’t spoil it, but just wait until the sequence in the church.  It brought the house down at the screening I attended.

Overall I liked the movie.  It took a while to get enjoyable for me, but the last half hour or so more than made up for the weaknesses in the first half. 

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