Anyone who is old enough to remember life before the internet can probably remember a time when James Bond films were fairly formulaic (as I explained in my review of Skyfall) But of late, the movies have matured and become more complex, leaving some pining for the good old days.
Enter Kingsmen The Secret Service – a fairly camp rendition of the romantic MI5 we all wished did exist. Kingsmen is a tailors on Savile Row, but enter the right dressing room and you descend to a private underground station with a sophisticated bullet train that whisks you off to a Manor House hidden in the countryside where secret service recruits are trained. Once training is complete another dressing room at Kingsmen will show you an arsenal of high tech weapons and gadgetry – a room where Q branch meets GQ magazine!
Heading the cast is smarmy but deadly Oscar winner Colin Firth, supported by Michael Caine. Unknown Taron Egerton plays the young delinquent fostered by Firth to be trained to high MI5 standards through a quick montage. The stakes are high as in the background Samuel L Jackson, fresh from a spate of poor career choices (Big Game, Kite, Barely Lethal….heard of them? No?), plans to conquer the world by getting everyone to beat each other up when a SIM card activates a sound that sends them mental.
Yes the whole film is camp as tits and very tongue in cheek. Even some of the special effects are poorly executed (the worst in the opening titles, risky). Yet surprisingly the whole film is compelling and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable. The highlight without doubt is a fight sequence in a church involving Firth and for its imagination, choreography and direction should receive an award for….best…fight? Amazing stuff.
And like some films, be sure to watch the credits as it’s not as over as you may think. A sequel will be inevitable given this films popularity and will be a challenge to top.