It was unavoidable to not hear about the 007 comparisons before seeing this movie. Mr Bond has literally spawned a sub-genre of movies by himself with his brand of flippant, high octave action. ‘Bond spoof’ was another term being thrown around about this movie, but with the (brilliant) Austin Powers series and (not so brilliant) Johnny English already ticking the box having ‘done this’, not to mention way back in 1967, Casino Royale also doing the same, surely such a film was the last thing the world needed.
Nevertheless, with a director of Matthew Vaughan’s calibre (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) and with a stellar cast including Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson and Michael Caine, in I went to the cinema with high hopes. The film centres around Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a chavvy South London boy who has lost his way and in no uncertain terms has not lived up to his late father’s legacy, a ‘kingsman’ (a secret government agent of an unnamed country, although assumedly her majesty’s Great Britain) himself.
When the time comes for there to be a new recruitment to the ‘kingsman’ family, the decidedly suave Harry Hart (Colin Firth) encourages an initially weary Eggsy to enter a six person process for which there would be only one winner.
During a scene when Harry Hart is trying to win over Eggsy over a pint in a gritty council estate pub, comes a scene which sets the tone of the film. When a bunch of regulars thirsty for Eggsy’s blood do not take lightly to Harry Hart’s request to leave them alone to finish their drink, they pay the consequences. Harry Hart takes the group of around a half a dozen down in the comic book-meets-bloody, real world style which was so gloriously introduced in Vaughn’s previous hit Kick-Ass.
If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass, then the extent of the violence may come as some of a surprise. Of course, with the violence being portrayed in such an unrealistic, comic book style manner (of one man banging heads together and what not), it’s all very tongue in cheek.
The battle to be ‘kingsman’ is action packed and relentless, and ends up being between Eggsy and the cool and calm Roxy (Sophie Cookson). Without wanting to give too much of the plot away, the battle culminates with Michael Caine (a natural choice to play such an authoritarian, government figure in Arthur), a gun, and a dog. Naturally, no bond spoof movie would be credible without an arch nemesis, and this comes in the way of the lisp affected Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson).
His plan to take over the world comes down to an epic battle between him and Roxy and Eggsy, who team up in an enthralling finale, despite one of them being earlier pipped to the post. The end of the movie is quite literally, headblowing (fans of the last night of the Proms will be pleasantly surprised), and Eggsy’s metamorphosis from chavvy waster to classy, suave hero is complete.
While not being a laugh a minute, it certainly has its moments. It’s a film not to be taken too seriously, but it’s fun, and while it could be aptly described as a bond spoof movie, happily, it’s not in the way expected. As long as you go in to the cinema without your thinking cap on and you want to be entertained, you should go home happy.
KETTLE RATING 4/5