Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

There’s something about covert operations that make people tick. From the wildly popular Mission: Impossible flicks to the fantastically classic Bond movies and even Agent Cody Banks for the kids, the classy spy has always been marketable.

Recently, it seems as if only good old Bond has retained any sense of real spy classiness, but Kingsman: The Secret Service has arrived to sit in the sweet spot between the stylish stoicism of 007 flicks, the badass spy-gear of the Impossible Missions Force and the boyish youthfulness of Agent Cody Banks – all while featuring some of the swankiest gentleman’s suits that have become the clothing du jour for any respectable government spy.


In the movie based on the acclaimed comic book The Secret Service, Colin Firth plays Harry Hart, a member of the super-secret spy organization Kingsman, who recruits street kid Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton) into the world of gentlemanly espionage after seeing the latter’s potential.

Soon we’re introduced to the nihilist with a lisp – the mega-rich genius Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who seeks to save the world in his own twisted way, and his personal assistant-slash-assassin Gazelle (Sofia Boutella).


Kingsman is everything you’d expect from a spy movie – dapper-looking men, attractive ladies, cool gadgets and stylish fight scenes. But there’s something different in this movie, which is its glorious ultraviolence.

With a lot of slicing and stabbing, precise gunshots that would put cowboys to shame and the occasional bloody impaling of the common man via use of poles, the level of violence in the film is an 8 or a 9 on a scale of 10, especially when you consider all the (mostly innocent) blood that gets spilled onscreen. But it’s not as bad as it sounds, because on the same scale for fight choreography, the film hits a beautiful full score.


With superbly jaw-dropping stunts and ironically upbeat music playing while the body count increases, you’ll soon forgive the insane levels of violence in spite of its black humor which reminds us of Quentin Tarantino. One of the most intense action scenes in Kingsman feels like a combination of when The Bride battles the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and the infamous torture scene in Reservoir Dogs (1992), as an indication of how horribly hilarious it all is.

Speaking of humor, the appropriate level has added value to the film with the screenplay by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (the latter happens to be the director). This is the dynamic duo who has worked together on Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011).


Half the course of the 129-minute movie, you’ll find yourself either going “oooh” at the film’s various geeky offhand nods and references to the Halo and Star Wars franchises among others, or laughing at Eggsy’s hilarious ‘street kid’ reactions to situations like watching a video of a man’s head blown up (off-screen).

Speaking of which, Kingsman doesn’t compromise on character depth and story. Taron Egerton pulls off the ‘street kid’ act pretty well, delivering lines like the rude yet thoughtful punk Eggsy’s meant to be and showing a clear difference in speech patterns when the character goes classy with the suit. Colin Firth stands on equal ground here, shining as well in his role as the refined gentleman spy who becomes sort of a strict yet proud father figure to his rowdy protégé.

Their success in their roles especially shows in their individual moments of quick sadness and guilt, fitting for the grown men they portray. Something else to note is that unlike in The King’s Speech (2010) or A Single Man (2009), Colin Firth plays a much less serious role here, and as a result, you’ll see him with a lot more joking statements than usual.

In terms of directing, judging by Vaughn’s resume, he’s certainly the man for good, humorous hero flicks, and a huge contributor to the quality of this movie. No part of the film felt rushed or sluggish, despite its pretext of an action flick. Along with a believable story, the whole film was presented in a neat, 3-piece suit package.


The writer of the The Secret Service comic was also behind the original Kick-Ass comic, which might explain the familiar use of a first-person view used. Although in the case of Kingsman, we found that the sequence feels a lot less like a game and more super-spy-worthy, which works to the film’s credit.

So if you’re looking for a top-notch spy flick that compromises on nothing while keeping everything you love about top-secret governmental espionage, Kingsman: The Secret Service is probably right up your alley.

Rating: 5/5


Release Date: Feb 12

Runtime: 129 minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: M18

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, Michael Caine

Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.