A thrilling blend of the James Bond, Kill Bill, and Kick-Ass films, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a fast-paced, action-packed, hilarious homage to the classic spy films of the past.
I’m lucky enough to have been raised by a father who loved everyone’s favorite agent, 007. We’ve seen just about every Bond film there is, from Connery to Craig. So action and espionage films hold a special place in my heart. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I was so excited to see it. I was cautious though, because as I’ve mentioned in past posts, I have an unfortunate history of being disappointed by great trailers leading to mediocre movies; I hype myself up only to be let down. I’m happy to say that was not the case this time!
Kingsman is written and directed by Matthew Vaughn, known for his other stellar films Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. That influence is clear in this film. There’s a certain wonderful sense of humor to the movie paired with high-octane action sequences. This is where the comparisons begin. Let’s start with the awesome geeky gadgetry and the classy air of the Bond series. I guess a lot of that is owed to the British influence of both films, and of course the fantastic acting of both Colin Firth (Harry Hart) and Michael Caine (Arthur). One of the most charming aspects of the film is the cool tech hidden in stunning suits and dapper accessories, such as an umbrella that can block bullets and stun and a hand grenade hidden in a lighter.
The quirkiness of the characters reminds me of the crazy cast of Kill Bill. Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of a misguided mad man (Valentine) is fantastic, and is one of the few characters who can make a lisp intimidating! He has such violent ideas in mind for his idealistic future, yet he gets queasy at the sight of blood; it’s a delightful irony! Sofia Boutella’s portrayal of Gazelle, with her deadly prosthetic legs, reminds me of Gogo from Kill Bill, with their youthful beauty disguising a frightening level of aggression. The parkour moves of the main character Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and carefully choreograped action scenes reminds me of the kung-fu influence that is prominent in Kill-Bill.
While we’re talking about it, the cast of characters that are recruited for this service and the training they go through is also very reminiscent of X-Men: First Class, arguably the best film in the X-Men franchise. These young, talented individuals go through hell to prove their worth, and rightfully so, as the job of being a Kingsman is no easy task! They are funny, snarky, and enjoyable to watch on screen.
Finally, the films remind me of Kick-Ass because of some of the crazier moments of the film. There’s one particularly epic scene towards the end of the film that had me laughing out loud and cringing at the same time! Additionally, the camera work of the fight scenes is very comic book-esque, with lots of slow-mo and close-ups and plenty of awesome special effects, much like the fight scenes from Kick-Ass.
One of my favorite features of the film is the banter between Valentine and Harry and, later, Eggsy. They have a few meta moments where they talk about their favorite spy films, and how things would play out if they were in such a film. Vaughn is obviously a fan of the genre, and not only wrote a clever spy film with plenty of twists and turns and awesome action sequences, but paid respect to the films that came before him.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 10/10
If you like action or espionage movies, this is an absolute must-see. Vaughn skillfully crafts a fun, exciting film that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its wild ride, with perfect casting and well-executed action sequences. It’s going to go down as a cult-classic for sure, and is definitely one of my favorite action movies of all time. I definitely hope to see more films in this series!