Sunday, September 24, 2017

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

The adaptation of Mark Millar's off-the-wall spy comedy came to life with humor and action under the brilliant direction of Matthew Vaughn. The film begins with two prologues, one that shows the Kingsman spy group including Harry Hart (Colin Firth) aka Galahad and Merlin (Mark Strong) assaulting a terrorist spy group only to lose a member to a suicide bomber. Another agent Lancelot (Jack Davenport) completes his training during this mission but is killed in the second prologue seventeen years later on a mission in Argentina to save Professor Arnold (Mark Hamill). The deadly Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) sliced Lancelot in half at the behest of her boss Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who is afraid of blood and disgusted by violence. The recruiting process for a new Kingsman begins including the grown-up son of the agent that died years ago, Eggsy (Taron Egerton).

Eggsy is a troublemaker living with his mom and her abusive boyfriend. He steals the car from thugs but ends up in jail needing help. He calls the number on a mysterious medallion and says "Oxford, not brogues". He's let out of prison and picked up by Harry who shows him his fighting skills in the pub when the same thugs try to bully Eggsy. Galahad recruits Eggsy into the new process by scaring off Eggsy's abusive stepfather using a microphone in a bug. At the Kingsman tailor shop, Harry shows Eggsy the potential of the secret service agency. Underground, Harry and Eggsy travel across England and Eggsy joins the recruiting process.

Eggsy meets the other recruits including Roxy (Sophie Cookson) and other wealthy jerks. Valentine moves forward with his plan recruiting important people like President Obama and Scandinavian royalty while implanting chips in free phones. The training includes the room flooding while the recruits are sleeping and adopting a puppy that they will later have to kill. Eggsy think he picks a bulldog but it's really a pug. Harry confronts Professor Arnold but the professor's head explodes and Harry barely escapes. Time passes as Harry recovers, Valentine moves forward kidnapping those who defy him, and Eggsy makes it to the final six candidates.

The next training event includes a dangerous parachute competition that lands Eggsy and Roxy in the final three. Harry investigates Valentine but drinks a tracker and falls for a ploy. Eggsy manages not to snitch on the Kingsman taking him to the final round but he's unable to kill his puppy so he's knocked out of the training. Roxy takes the position of Lancelot. Harry follows Valentine to Kentucky where a violent altercation with a church infected by Valentine's aural virus leads to Harry being killed. Eggsy watches the carnage through Harry's glasses and confronts the leader of the Kingsman Arthur (Michael Caine) who has betrayed the agency. Eggsy teams up with Roxy and Merlin to foil Valentine's plot.

Roxy floats up into the atmosphere to destroy Valentine's satellite he plans to use to transmit the signal that causes people to kill each other. Eggsy and Merlin use Arthur's chip to infiltrate Valentine's secret lair. Eggsy is outed by a failed recruit Charlie (Edward Holcroft) but Eggsy escapes but not before he's given Merlin access to the system. They stop the first satellite but Valentine manages to recruit another only needing to get into the right position. Eggsy heads back into the lair fighting off the guards. It looks dire but Merlin triggers the implants, which leads to everyone's head exploding in a colorfully goofy sequence. Valentine still sets the signal off making people around the world break out into violence. Eggsy has to fight Gazelle and only manages to beat her with the neurotoxin in his shoe. He uses her razor-sharp leg to spear Valentine in the heart and stops the chaos. Kingsman is a nice mixture of humor and over the top action making for one of my favorite movies of 2014 and a top spy film.  

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