Last night’s movie entertainment was provided by the latest from director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”, “X-Men : First Class”, the spy comedy thriller “Kingsman : The Secret Service”.
The film opens in the Middle East in 1997, where an agent dies whilst trying to protect the rest of his team from death. His teammate Harry Hart (Colin Firth – “Before I Go To Sleep”, “Devil’s Knot”), codenamed Galahad, delivers a bravery medal to the dead man’s widow, with a number engraved on the back for her, or her young son Eggsy, to call if they ever need a “favour”.
Seventeen years later another agent, codenamed Lancelot (Jack Davenport – “Pirates Of The Caribbean”), is killed whilst trying to rescue kidnapped Professor Arnold (Mark Hamill – “Star Wars”).
Meanwhile Eggsy (Taron Egerton – “The Smoke”), grown up to be a streetwise sportswear-clad youth, finds himself in trouble with the police for stealing a car, so calls the number on the back of his late dad’s bravery medal that he wears around his neck.
Galahad arranges for Eggy’s release and, seeing potential, gets him onto the recruitment and training boot camp for Kingsman, the secret service for whom he works, which is headed up by Arthur (Michael Caine – “Stonehearst Asylum”, “Sleuth”).
Eggsy joins a group of other candidates, including Roxy (Sophie Cookson – “Moonfleet”), all from private schools are clearly posh, and all aiming to become the new Lancelot under the watchful eye of Merlin (Mark Strong – “Welcome To The Punch”), a senior member of Kingsman.
Celebrities and VIPs from all over the globe are disappearing without trace, and Internet billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson – “Avengers : Age Of Ultron”, “Big Game”) seems to be involved.
Valentine, aided by his lethal sidekick Gazelle (Sofia Boutella – “Street Dance 2”), has plans to deal with the inevitable over-population of Earth with a diabolical plan to be triggered by his own special SIM cards, distributed free to everyone.
Galahad is tasked with investigating Valentine, but it’s not long before the combined resources of Eggsy, Merlin and Roxy are called for.
The two hours and ten minute runtime of this movie flew by, such was the entertainment on offer. With tongue firmly in cheek often, the film harks back to the irreverance found in the Roger Moore era of James Bond films, and is very loosely based on the 2012 comic book series “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.
There is plenty of style and clever gadgets on show, but ultimately it’s the performances – particularly those of Egerton, Firth and Strong – that make this film so watchable. All in all, it’s great fun and worthy of a sequel or two…