On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Matthew Vaughan is one of the new directors to be included on that selective caste of generation ‘Y’ movie makers. Influenced by comic-book cadence and narrative, the small group conformed by him, Snyder, Gunn (Wright? Maybe; Whedon? Maybe) may not make movies to AFI 100 but they sure do Box-Office and overall good critics with witty dialog and distinctive aesthetics that somehow, or in certain sequences pay respect to Guy Ritchie and others before them.
That’s why I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to make a Review on that fantastic film that ‘Kingsman’ is.
PRODUCER: 20th Century Fox / Marv Films
Live and Let Die
‘Kingsman’ plot starts right away; three disguised spies/soldiers have captured a random terrorist and are questioning him. The terrorist has a concealed grenade. One of the spies/soldiers sacrifices himself in order to save the others.
Next shot we see Harry (Colin Firth) taking a medal to the widow, and when she, angry, refuses to take it, Harry gives the medal to his young son, Gary ‘Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton which square jaw could go to a tournament and win the finals against Colton Haynes).
Seventeen years later, Eggsy isn’t living a dream life. His mother has a relationship with a crook surrounded by the typical British brawlers directly out from the Soccer Field. They hate Eggsy and he hates them back. He got in trouble and end in jail. When Harry saves him from an even gloomier future and shows him what the Kingsmen are, everything seems different for him.
In the meantime, Harry, who in this particular Secret Service is named ‘Galahad’ is investigating the disappearance of a well-known scientist, professor Arnold (played by Mark Hamill). Galahad, Merlin (Mark Strong) and Arthur (Michael Caine) find out that his partner, Lancelot, was murdered trying to save the professor. The round table has lost one of his knights. And he needs to be replaced.
Could Eggsy fill the shoes? Will he be beaten by one of his competitors in this ‘Men in Black’ forty minutes homage sequence?
The Spy who loved me
The whole plot of the movie is revealed in the first twenty minutes. The bad guy, Valentine (Samuel Jackson being Samuel Jackson) a billionaire scientist, has a megalomaniac plan to reduce the earth population by making everybody fight against each other. And he receives support by almost every world leader. Kings, presidents, and rich personalities. He has invented a chip for cellphones that provides free connection for texting and phonecalls. The subtext here is our new way of communication mostly by gadgets. It can sound like an acid note when the whole subplot of the movie stands on the claim that being a gentleman has nothing to do with your bank account (you can tell that to the guy that makes your tailored suits Colin).
This chain of events is presented fast enough to give time to show the development of Eggsy as a character and his closeness to Harry, his mentor. While a few clichés could be avoided (the loaded despicable rival; the black girl that…oops, watch the movie) overall, don’t affect the general picture.
Vaughan makes an excellent effort on focusing in the movie neural spots: the fighting sequences. Such beauty. Since Matrix (the original) I didn’t see something so well crafted. The camera moves trepid like in ‘The Raid’ and like the indonesian hit, everything is understandable. You won’t miss anything in these long shots. The church sequence deserves special plaudits. It’s like ballet, but bloodier.
You’ll soon figure out that Vaughan is the same director of ‘Kick-Ass’ (the first one) that is also based on a comic by Mark Millar: ‘Secret Service’. It also introduces an outcast that takes on a mantle too big for him but ultimately, is successful.
Die another day
Make no mistake; ‘Kingsman’ is more a comedy than anything. It’s funny, fast (but not frantic), and filled with tremendous action sequences constructed with skill and care.
Like ‘Kick-Ass’, the whole plot is packed with pop-culture references scattered all over the movie, even in the soundtrack that mixes classic epic tunes with songs by Take That, Dire Straits and Iggy Azalea.
The whole cast is fine and immersed in their roles. I would have spared the ‘rich rival’ subplot but it’s a tool for the viewer to not miss the point that you can be a gentleman whether you came from the projects or a castle.
And remember: Oxford, not Brogues