Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman’s Kick-Ass adaptation fuelled overly high hopes for this new venture into Mark Millar’s brash December-May bromance between Savile Row secret service stalwart Harry Hart (Firth) and nature’s gentleman newcomer from the hoodied hoods, “Eggsy” Unwin (Egerton). Many moons ago, Harry dropped the ball and has the death of Eggsy’s father on his conscience. Now he wants to do right by the boy, recruiting him to the tough love school of Avenger-style derring-do. Together, they’ll give Valentine (Jackson) his comeuppance before he decimates humanity with the help of aggression-disinhibiting body chips. Sporting a nimble if utterly ludicrous plot, Kingsman: The Secret Service is cleverly executed, with preposterous umbrella-wielding MMA, a bagful of Bondish banter and a coming-of-age narrative in which The Circle goes Knights of the Round Table. It’s the indiscriminate violence that’s bothersome. Tarantino can pull this off because he never really pulls his tongue out of his cheek. But Vaughn’s obvious bipolarity of devilry and decency turns into two-toned monotony. The ending should have caused a minor diplomatic incident. Thankfully, our northern neighbours have a sense of humour.
Kingsman: The Secret Service | Directed by Matthew Vaughn (UK 2014) with Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton. Starts March 12
Originally published in issue #136, March 2015