First of all, I apologize to all my editorial those who read my preview feature on “Kingsman.” I write those stories a couple months ahead of time to meet editors’ deadlines, so sometimes the MPAA rating isn’t available yet and I have to give my best guess as to what I think it will be.
￼I was 99 percent sure that “Kingsman: The Secret Service” would be rated PG-13 — ￼after all, there’s a cool kid in the lead that’s targeted directly at teens — but the ￼movie ended up with an R rating.
For me, a PG-13 rating would have done the trick. They could have accomplished ￼the same goal without all the violence, and also grabbed a huge portion of ￼moviegoers in the 13- to 17-year-old age range. But what do I know? I’m not ￼Matthew Vaughn, the director. And the movie is still stylish and fun (although if ￼you’re easily traumatized by dogs in the line of fire, you might have to avert your ￼eyes during one particular scene).
Based on the 2012 comic book “The Secret Service,” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, this movie, directed by the aforementioned Vaughn (“Kick-Ass,” “X-Men: First Class“), tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that works outside of the government. Their “cover” is a clothing store on ￼which sells not only stylish garb for gentlemen, but also houses some very cool London’s Savile Row,
￼The Kingsmen are all named after King Arthur’s knights, including Galahad aka ￼Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who is one of the main Kingsmen, along with head ￼honcho Arthur (Michael Caine). In 1997, a fellow Kingsman saved Harry’s life ￼while sacrificing his own, so Harry reached out to the man’s widow with the ￼promise of help. She declines, but her son, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) collects on that promise 17 years later, as he’s trying to weasel out of a touchy situation (i.e. ￼people are chasing him).
￼Harry never forgets a promise, and he thinks Eggsy has the untapped skills ￼necessary to become a Kingsman, but first, he has to train with a bunch of other ￼kids, and only one will be chosen to be the next Kingsman. ￼Meanwhile, there’s a tech industry millionaire named Valentine (Samuel L. ￼Jackson), who’s planning on culling the planet of people in order to save it. ￼Something to do with global warming, and the Kingsmen must stop this villain ￼before all is lost.
￼If Robert Rodriguez and James Bond had a baby, it would be “Kingsman: The ￼Secret Service.” With all the fun spy gadgets, underground bunkers, evil villains, ￼and a meticulously dressed star, the movie definitely has that Bond feel. But it’s ￼also super violent, with lots of shooting, limbs severed and blood splattering ￼every which way, which makes me think of Rodriguez’ “Machete,” “Grindhouse” ￼or my favorite of his films, “El mariachi.”
I haven’t seen the young star Taron Egerton in anything else (he was in a BBC film last year called “Testament of Youth” and also starred in a British TV show “The Smoke“), but something tells me we’ll be seeing more of him. At the beginning of the film, he’s a street kid with lots of problems. Along the way, he morphs into a skilled Kingsman. Quick thinking helps in both of those instances, and he’s simply charming.
Samuel L. Jackson‘s villain wears sideways baseball caps, loves McDonald’s food and talks with a lisp. I can’t decide if I like that or not. He usually plays the guy who doesn’t take any guff (i.e. Nick Fury in “The Avengers,” Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction“), so I guess this role is meant to turn that persona on its head.
There are some scenes — one, in particular — where the mayhem and chaos is so over the top, you almost have to look away. But “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is still a worthy installment in the spy genre, and no one wears a well-tailored suit quite like Colin Firth.
Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content
Released in Theaters: Feb. 13, 2015
Best for Ages: 17+
Genre: Action, Adventure
Runtime: 129 minutes
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick! Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a well-known film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this review used courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film Corp.