Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service

(M) Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton

For those who are clued into the comic world, Kingsman: The Secret Service is an acclaimed series from acclaimed writer Mark Millar and artist Dave Gibbons. The spy-recruitment story is not original, but seeing Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as a super-spy presents new possibilities to this familiar genre. Firth plays Harry Hart, member of the Kingsmen, a super-secret spy agency that attempts to recruit Gary “Egsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) to the spy world. Egsy is the typical misguided youth who does not see his own potential until Hart comes into his life. The recruit goes through an accelerated spy training that leads to his role in — you guessed it — saving the world.

Initially, Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) seems to be attempting to go old-school and bring tailored suits back to the espionage world. Quickly, though, Kingsmen shows it is not going to be your father’s spy film. While I’m trying hard to be not considered overly prudish, this film pushes the edge of the envelope with language, violence and sexual situations. Then, it just keeps going. Gone are the spy-movie days of subtle winks and innuendo. This visual experience smacks you in the face with twists on the traditional spy story and then, for good measure, kicks you while you are down.

Vaughn seems to lift from Quentin Tarantino’s playbook, where nothing is too extreme. Tarantino has moved film-making to a new level and his writing is unparalleled in the industry … but Vaughn is not Tarantino. Sometimes violence and language does add to the entertainment experience, but this film merely is trying to shock the audience and hide a poorly executed story. Characters lack depth and, as Harry says in the film: “[These] films are only as good as their villain.” Samuel L. Jackson plays bad-guy Valentine but he’s not convincing,   poorly written. Which can be said of the film, overall. Kingsman seems to be aimed at the teen market, but this film will make even the most discerning adult look away and blush — especially during its closing scenes.

Attempting to find redemptive qualities in Kingsman was difficult. There’s not much to seriously consider. My advice to you is to choose another film. There is no redeeming value to be upheld, and it would go against all sensibilities to recommend it.

Leaving the cinema…

Expectations were not met. The marketing is deceptive, because the audience being targeted is not suitable for such a graphic, offensive film. Usually I am willing to allow for artistic license, but this film is one of such extremes that it does not deserve an audience.

What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?

  1. Is there a personal “line”, or discernment to be used, when it comes to film viewing? (John 7:24, Philippians 1:9-10)
  2. Where does the notion of “the sanctity of life” come from? (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 5: 21-22)

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger

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