Director Matthew Vaughn of “Kick Ass” fame is clearly working through his James Bond phase. Taking the acclaimed comic book as a starting point, he introduces “Harry Hart/Galahad” (Colin Firth), a gentleman super spy.
Harry is part of the “Kingsman” an English super secret, well equipped and terribly refined organisation dedicated to preserving order, one well cut suit at a time.
The group have enormous resources, the best gadgets and a line in extreme violence should circumstances dictate. When one of their number is sliced in half by a female assassin with blades for legs, that trigger point has been reached.
Harry owes his colleagues lad a favour after a mission gone wrong and when Eggsy (Taron Egerton) calls when in trouble again, there is a glimmer of hope that he may have the right stuff. Ultra competitive training montage then tracks his progress.
The father/son or mentor relationship is framed by an overall dastardly plot hatched by silicon valley billionaire type Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson). Valentine is inexplicably played by Jackson with an unnecessary lisp, as he plots the worlds downfall one mobile phone at a time.
The film makes several nods to Bond and clearly wants to distance itself from the more serious Craig 007 outings, shooting for broad comedy in parts and extreme violence in others. A scene based in a church (admittedly before recent US shootings) is ridiculously over the top and some might argue irresponsible, give the innocuous setting and people involved.
Whilst the film is enjoyable until about halfway, the church scene heralds a lurch into a weaker film, as if the makers lost faith in the reasonable foundations laid earlier on.
Firth is solid as you would expect, Michael Caine as the agency boss adds gravitas and Mark Strong as head of training is more than adequate. Egerton in his first feature role tends to be lost in this acting company, coming across with little charisma, once his urban street urchin persona is trained out of him.
Overall a rather crass glorification of violence, poor story telling and with some sexist overtones, which is disappointing as the film could and should have been so much better.
Following a promising start, this is somewhat of a wasted opportunity, essentially a film of two halves. Firth and the story deserve better.
Enjoyable to the halfway point but serving up such casual gratuitous violence as mainstream entertainment is troubling, yet anyone under 30 will undoubtedly just think it’s cool.