Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Kingsman: The Secret Service

If you ever wondered what a jaunty Colin Firth film might be like mixed with comic book action, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" would be your answer.

The film, directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) stars Firth as secret agent Harry Hart who is every bit the dapper super spy in the tradition of the British Avengers character John Steed who was played by Patrick Macnee on TV.

In the film, Firth also carries an umbrella.

The Kingsman are an elite group of agents who work under MI-6, and handle whatever delicate and/or violent operations need to be done.

After a botched maneuver in the Middle East, Hart gets word about a kidnapped scientist in Argentina, campily played by none other than Mark Hamill of "Star Wars," and an infiltration by Gazelle, a female amputee assassin (Sofia Boutella). Thrown into the mix is a weird, squeamish super-villain--i suppose--named Valentine delivered by a lisping Samuel L. Jackson, in probably one of the strangest performances you'll ever see in an action film.

Valentine, an eco terrorist, strives to implant a chip in every person that will essentially drive them mad with rage, and cause mass suicides.

There is a mildly poignant sub-plot regarding young Gary (Taron Eggerton) who loses his dad inadvertently at the hands of espionage and as a kind of Bruce Wayne learns the ropes from Harry.

If the action, blood and graphic novel sequences are not to your taste (and to some they might not be) consider the dark humor given by Firth in his role as he reduces an entire pub to a puddle of flesh and then takes the last sip of his Guinness. Seconds later, you half expect him to quote Capote, Julio Cortazar or Oscar Wilde.

Jackson alone is as over the top as we might expect, wearing pink and projectile vomiting at the sight of blood. A violent wildlife activist with a penchant for Mcdonalds?

Just when the uber-zany goings on might turn away the pupils in your eyes for good, the madcap crunching and bashing given by an epileptic Colin Firth (whose dazed and spaced out expressions are priceless after every bloodbath) pull us back into the story full throttle.

What can you say about a film that shows a full church of bigots modeled after the demonic Westboro Baptist Church impale each other with staffs and crosses? Last but not least, numerous heads explode during a dinner party only to turn into drastic dandelions and mushroom clouds of every color. There are several decapitated bodies waiting for plates that will never arrive.

With its visual tintinnabulation of splatter, soup-squash and squish, it is as much a critique of gore exploitation films as a tribute, with Colin Firth offering an odd, almost eerie tone to the lurid affair as well as camp.

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is one film that clearly out tarts Tarantino.

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