Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1997. Several members of an elite British spy organization are interrogating a terrorist suspect. Refusing to answer the bad guy produces a previously hidden grenade. In a split second, one of the Brits jumps on the grenade, taking the brunt of the blast and saving his comrades. Back in Britain the young hero’s wife and small son are presented with a medal for valor, with a number engraved on it. Should they ever need anything, they only have to call.
2014. Following the kidnapping of a climate professor (Mark Hamill) and the brutal murder of another spy, the agency known as Kingsman begins a hunt for a new member. At the same time we meet Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. Gary was the young boy who lost his father seventeen years ago and has run afoul of the law. Asking to make a phone call, he pulls a chain from around his neck on which hangs his father’s medal.
A curious mix of comedy and drama, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” starts out well when it introduces Harry Hart (Firth), code name Galahad, a suave, sophisticated spy with all of the coolness of James Bond and the badness of Jack Bauer. Harry reports to Arthur (Michael Caine) and informs him he’d like to submit Eggsy (Egerton) to fill the position that is open. When the candidates assemble, it’s obvious that Eggsy will have his work cut out for him. The other young men in attendance have proper names like Rufus and Digby. There are also two young ladies in the class. They are met by the course leader (Mark Strong) and informed that their first task is to write their names and next of kin on a provided body bag. Failure to succeed is pretty severe.
While the kids are playing spy, the organization is dealing with stopping a crazy billionaire who is offering the world free cell phone service and internet through an item he is giving away. Named Valentine (Jackson), he’s the stereotypical movie bad guy, though Jackson makes him interesting by playing him as a lisping Mars Blackmon. When Harry discovers that Valentine’s product will cause people to literally kill each other he decides to intervene. And here is where the film goes off the tracks. Harry attends services at a white-supremacist church and soon finds himself in a battle for his life. In an amazingly filmed, but so over the top that you don’t care, scene, Harry literally kills EVERYONE in the church, but every means available. Gunshots to the head and a flag pole in the chest are two of the many interesting and gory ways the parishioners die. While a great display of some nice visual effects, this scene, which seems to go on for 30 mins, just takes you out of the film totally. Any sense of believability runs out the exit door. Which isn’t good when there’s still a lot of movie left to go. Firth does a good job as the proper English spy and looks like he’s having a good time. Sadly I couldn’t say the same.