3/4

Kingsman: The Secret Service [2015] ★★★

timthumbGuns, gadgets, spies, over-the-top action scenes. That’s the juice of classic Bond movies. It’s also the juice in “Kingsman”, an incredibly entertaining piece of comic book movie that dares you to dive into its own madness. Allow it. Chances are, you won’t be seeing a spy movie as fresh and clever for quite some time (“Spectre” maybe?). Even if the film goes off the rails at times, there’s something potently slick about the take of Brit director Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”, “Layer Cake”) on the vision of writers Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Ever since audiences got a taste of “Kingsman” at last year’s Comic-Con, we’ve all been wondering how the end result would turn out to be. In terms of story, I’ll say that both book and film are about a troubled British kid named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who gets recruited into an organization of spies. In the movie, he becomes part of “The Kingsmen,” an ancient order of world-protecting agents whose headquarters are located beneath a tailor shop in London. His mentor and protector is Harry Hart (the amazing Colin Firth), and the rest of The Kingsmen are played by the great Michael Caine and Mark Strong. There’s also Samuel L. Jackson, who gives an amusing performance as the film’s baddie, a tech billionaire whose latest invention may be a cover for a secret plot to destroy the world (ah, just like the old Bond movies). Still, the movie belongs to Firth. The English actor, in a 180-degree spin from the period elegance of “The King’s Speech”, is having a ball digging into the role of a Bond-like spy. It’s a kick to see him go ballistic on the people who tried to humiliate him in a bar. “Manners maketh man” he says. But the film’s real dramatic energy comes from watching Eggsy develop into a Kingsman. There’s passion, as well as pow in Vaughn’s game plan, and he has crafted the most entertaining movie of the year so far (Liam Neeson, eat your heart out). I say bring on a sequel.

Rating: 3/4

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