International espionage is as familiar to us as just about any other subject showcased in film. Like James Bond flicks, Austin Powers films and now Kingsman: The Secret Service, many of these are filled with fantastic gadgets that can only be produced in the fictional world of entertainment. It’s one of the assets that constantly brings audiences to the theaters to see these movies, so I can see this going on for as long as movies are a popular form of entertainment.
Along with features such as interestingly weird gadgets, there are a plethora of other common concepts that find their way into these films. If you’re like myself, you can and will hope for something new, but at this point, that’s not to be expected. Aside from not watching these movies anymore, just about the only other thing we can do is ask for something that provides enough entertainment for us, because it doesn’t appear as if there will be much more in terms of originality.
Kingsman: The Secret Service fits right along with many of the countless cinematic predecessors that came before it. There’s nothing in it that truly separates it from anything that we’ve already seen before. There are a couple of scenes and action sequences that come off as being fairly unique, but other than that, everything else is simply going over what has already been done on numerous occasions.
This tells the story of “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton), an unrefined young man who appears to have an unlimited amount of potential that he’s letting go to waste with his erratic and criminal behavior. He’s never had it easy, but his life is about to become more difficult for a reason that doesn’t involve cops or the alcoholic boyfriends that his mother seems to always bring into their home. This time in his life brings difficulty in a form that can make him a better person or break whatever spirit he may have.
The person who believes that he is more than an unlawful street kid shows up to recruit him is Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a secret service agent with an eye for talent. In spite of his unsavory track record that he carries along with him, Hart believes that “Eggsy” has the tools that could make him into the super spy with a little bit of training and discipline. All he needs to do is beat out several other hungry suitors for the position and survive the malicious intentions of the unpleasantly calm genius known as Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).
As you’ll find out if and when you watch Kingsman, what’s seen during its duration is much more tame than you might expect. With this being an R rated action film, you would anticipate some crazy action with a large amount of blood, profanity and maybe a bit of nudity. However, that’s not exactly what is here for us to view. There obviously is some of that, but it’s no where near what you’d anticipate.
At some points, it seems as if Kingsman is a PG-13 movie posing as an R rated one. Usually, it’s the other way around with movies that are supposed to be safe for kids trying to be as edgy as possible without crossing the line, but it looked like Matthew Vaughn was afraid to get too vulgar in any way for the most part. Under normal circumstances, movies with this much violence would produce massive amounts of blood, but here the vast majority of this stuff would barely cause a stain on a clean white t-shirt.
The only things that make this movie anything more than PG-13 are the chopped off limbs flying all over the place in a few of the fight scenes and a decent amount of vulgar verbiage. With the limbs putting on aerial shows, I guess that could be too much for kids to stomach, but even then, there really isn’t any blood or anything. The profanity is what it is. These days, you hear that stuff in movies so frequently that they obviously don’t even restrict that too much anymore.
There’s a small scene with nudity, but I don’t know if that could cause this to be considered an “adults only” kind of affair. They’ve shown just as much nudity in movies like Titanic and that horrendous Total Recall remake, and those have both been deemed child friendly by the MPAA. If you’re going to make a movie like this, you might as well go all the way and turn it into a bloodbath. You already have all of the components there to make this into one, so why not just take it to that level?
Another issue that Kingsman has is its length. It’s nothing that kills the movie, but there isn’t a legitimate reason why it should have been as long as it is. When looking at ways to make it shorter, they could have easily eliminated the earlier scenes since they literally tell the audience the same stuff a few scenes later during a conversation. If they’re going to do that, why even show it to us visually in the first place? If you miss the first ten minutes or so, you’ll get the information you need soon after.
Nothing in Kingsman: The Secret Service has the ability to transform into the spectacle that it could have been. It’s an okay movie that could have been made better by simply turning everything up a few extra notches and allowing it to move faster. I can’t say that this would have made it into a great movie, but it would have gone a long way in bringing it closer to what it should have been. If you’re an adult who wants to see it, you probably should. It’s certainly an entertaining flick, but I do wish it was a little bit better, a good bit faster and more innovative overall.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Samuel L. Jackson
Film Length: 127 minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Distributor: 20th Century Fox