I am loathed to recommend crazy, flawed, but charming action movies two weeks in a row, but one must give Kingsman: The Secret Service its due. It’s cracking, in a practically literal sense. A film for the boyish (guns and gadgets galore) Kingsman rips off James Bond in the cheekiest way, equal parts thrills and giggles.
Secret Agent Recruitment for Saving the World, Of Course
Now the plot: famous people, like Iggy Azalea, keep disappearing around the world, and the agent Lancelot (Jack Davenport) of Kingsmen, a patriarchal secret society of superspies, dies trying to retrieve a kidnapped climate scientist (Mark Hamill). Galahad (Colin Firth), a top Kingsman, needs to find out the circumstances behind Lancelot’s murder and what the eccentric tech billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) has to do with it. Meanwhile, a new agent must take the place of Lancelot, and Galahad sponsors a young man called Eggsy (Taron Egerton, jawbones one would kill for), the son of another dead agent who had saved Galahad’s life. Amusing escapades drive us through Eggsy’s training and recruitment as Galahad plays out his mission to stop Samuel L. Jackson’s show-stealing evil genius.
First, a rant. This film is rated R-16 in the Philippines, which is ridiculous. It should be classified R-18; it has the most gruesome violence, people being sliced, diced, shot, pierced, stabbed, and blown up in every imaginable way. While the violence is cartoonish, it also glorifies violence, and kids (even teenage ones) should not be watching this. It is ridiculous that the classification board MTRCB thinks that such bloodiness is more acceptable than anodyne sex films that are regularly classified R-18. Sex is less offensive than violence; clean up your act, MTRCB!
So for the legal adults, I continue. British director Matthew Vaughn makes pretty much the most entertaining films out there (Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-men: First Class); he seems able to direct very fast-paced and high energy combat sequences peppered with bullets of equally rapid fire dialogue. Kingsman is unembarrassed about taking its inspiration and many of its set pieces from the early Bond era of Connery/Moore. Basically Kingsman is Bond if the reboot went lighter instead of darker. While I am a big fan of the Craig Bond, I have missed some of the kitschier touches of the franchise, and I am really grateful for Kingsman for taking the bonkers ball and running with it. Given the film’s financial success, this thick vein of comedy can continue to be richly mined. Most spectacular is Jackon’s villainous Valentine as a compound character of your favourite witty 80’s rapper and a nerdy personality-fuelled IT mogul. This film is so slick and rich you’d think it was pumped out of the North Sea, and the product placement is more valuable than black gold for its sponsors, who are cackling nefariously all the way to the bank. The fashion pieces and lifestyle lavishes shine seductively throughout this visual, high-end catalogue. Too bad few people could afford to buy any of it.
Lace Up Your Oxfords and Head to the Cinema
Yes, the superrich must be thrilled at the expense we are having on them. The amount of ill will towards the rich did leave me feeling a little uncomfortable, as did some of the off colour jokes, but I would rather squirm a little then nod off. For a stimulating romp, go to this cinematic caper armed with a martini glass; prepared to be shaken and stirred.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is showing this weekend in Cebu Febraury 20-22, 2015