This last weekend, I had the supreme pleasure of seeing The Kingsman: Secret Service. I won’t try to hide it. This is a good movie. It’s fun, entertaining, and doesn’t pull its punches. Before I get to carried away, there are three main reason The Kingsman is a hit.
First, the action choreography is sublime. I mean this very literally. The church sequence itself was jaw dropping. Again, literally I had to consciously close my mandibles because of my sheer awe. When I watched this scene, it reminded me of John Wick. The difference is that the directing style of Kingsman puts you into the action. The choreography in John Wick was usually presented pretty plainly. A medium shot of the action that allowed for us to see Keanu Reeves systematically take down his enemies very plainly. It worked for the film. The atmosphere of the film was very subdued, dark, and the opposite of flashy. That’s why the action worked the way it did.
The Kingsman on the other hand, are in a much more vibrant and fantastical world. While similarly slick, the fights were largely just shot differently. One of the first fight scenes involves the hand off of a glass of whiskey (scotch?, can’t exactly remember) without spilling a drop. The difference from John Wick is the camera choices. It follows the action and rotates around the fight. It put’s you into the action instead of being an observer. When you see it, which I assume you will, you’ll see what I mean.
The church scene is the best representation of the films camera style. I really can’t emphasize enough just how mind blowing this scene was. Not only in its action but in it length. To put it simply, the scene was put to the song Free Bird. So yeah, it’s long. What’s amazing is that it doesn’t drag. It just keeps going and with every second it just gets better. This scene is worth the price of the ticket by itself.
While the action is probably the highlight of The Kingsman, the second pillar of this film is its humor. The humor has a strongbase in the British style and with a little crudeness mixed. After all, The Kingsman can best be described as a love letter to James Bond. Every line has nearly perfect comedic timing and they are delivered with just the right amount of sass and dry wit. Even if you’re not a fan of British humor, I’m sure you’ll still get more than a few laughs.
The humor is also well served by it’s actors. Colin Firth, while a good actor is not too well known for his action comedy roles. I was pleasantly surprised however by his performance. He nailed absolutely everything, down to his epic fight scene in the church. It honestly made me wish he could play James Bond. He was suave, sophisticated, and brutal with a touch of wit. Just brilliant to be honest. Samuel L. Jackson absolutely nails his part as well. This is mostly because he plays a rather timid character than what we are used to seeing from him. Nonetheless, he was a likable villain which is a great asset to any movie. Samuel Jackson’s villain plays perfectly opposite Colin Firth’s hero. Both on either side of a fine line.
Lastly, as I said earlier this film above all else is a love letter to James Bond. The current trend for espionage films, and action films in general, is to go dark. Sometimes it works and again, I cite John Wick as an excellent example. However, this doesn’t always work. By paying homage to the classic silly gadgets and tropes abundant in James Bond, The Kingsman circumvents this problem. Along the way, we still have some very dark moments that leave the audience shocked.
All in all, The Kingsman is a great movie. The humor might be a little to crude at times but otherwise it’s a fun, entertaining ride.