Saturday, March 14

Kingsman: The Secret Service

The Film Fatales buck up and do battle with British spies. 

Kingsman. 2015. Rated R. Starring Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson (blink and you'll miss him, Jack Davenport). 

A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. [IMDb]

Nicole: I do love a spy movie. I also love British movies. Combine the two, and I'm in heaven. That's why I'm so surprised that I have very mixed feelings about Kingsman...a film I've been anxiously waiting to see since I heard about pre-production. I mean, come on... British Secret Service, Colin Firth as a suave spy, bad-ass villain Samuel L. Jackson and a host of super-cool gadgets? How could it possibly go wrong? Well, it doesn't go all wrong, just 1/4 wrong. But, it's a pretty strong 1/4 in my book.

elizabeth: I am not a big spy fan because I feel my pea-sized brain can’t take it all in. Plus, I feel they are made for men. Some of the sexist stuff that goes on in this type of movie sets my feminist hair on fire. But I was convinced to go see Kingsmen because Mr. Colin Firth was draped in a Saville Row pin stripped suit. A modern day Mr. Darcy who has knives in the tips of his shoes.

Nicole: Let's discuss what's right about about Kingsman...and there's a lot. First, the casting. This was a dream-worthy cast... Colin Firth, who is impeccable as the lead "Harry, aka Galahad" spy of the Kingsman -- a level of the British Secret Service so secret most people don't know or believe it exists. Kingsman is led by Arthur (Michael Caine. Let's face it, you simply cannot have a movie without Michael Caine. It's one of the Ten Commandments). Also on hand are tech guru Merlin (Mark Strong--wonderful in this role) and Lancelot (Jack Davenport), whose untimely death sets the Kingsman on the hunt for his killer and the search for his replacement at the "round table." The new recruits, led by newcomer Taron Egerton, are run through the paces to test their skills and abilities to pass muster as a future Kingsman worthy of replacing Lancelot. And, eventually, they end up embroiled in the hunt for baddie Samuel L. Jackson (often amusing), who has a taste for murder yet can't stand the sight of blood. The cast is stellar. No complaints. Moving on.

elizabeth: It pains me, but I agree about the casting. But there was only one strong female role and she was quite naughty. Sofia Boutella’s Gazelle had a way with cutlery that I have never seen before. Mark Hamill is unrecognizable as Professor Arnold. Samuel L. Jackson was slightly amusing, but he does something in the movie that I never want to see again in my life.  Mark Strong. who I mistook for actor Stanley Tucci, keeps the movie moving. He was also quite good in The Imitation Game, so I think I need to see what other movies he has done. And, Colin Firth can do no wrong.

Nicole: No, he cannot. The choice of music for certain scenes was totally ingenious. Visually, this is a fabulous looking movie... From set direction, to wardrobe, to styling, to visual effects (even if the last few scenes are heavy handed and a tad ridiculous)--it's all good. It's a fun romp with a sense of humor...but, on that point is where one of the first flaws occurs, in my opinion. With a movie of this nature, the filmmaker needed to make a this going to be a humorous parody? Or, is this going to be a kick-ass, effects-laden action movie? There was a bit of an identity crisis going on here. Some of the jokes fell flat in the face of gratuitous violence. In their defense, I get what they were trying to do based off the comics. I just just think it could have been more palatable without some scenes that crossed the line (namely the church scene and some of the final scenes). Also, some of the jokes were cheap and corny (I'm looking at you, Princess Tilde). Look, I'm no stranger to gross-out parodies of genre films (Shaun of the Dead is among my favorites), but perhaps I went in with expectations that were too high and I left a little let down.

elizabeth: I was thinking it was going to be a funny romp into the world of secret service, but why the hell the director had to mix it up with some really revolting violence is beyond me. You lost me forever. The storyline was on acid and not the good kind. Some of the last scenes were beyond asinine and director Matthew Vaughn should have to spend five minutes with Gazelle. That will teach him.

Nicole: What I loved about this movie, I really loved. What I disliked, I really disliked. That is a shame...because it's holding me back from counting this among some of the best films I've seen. And dammit, if that ain't a real pain in my arse.

elizabeth: The only thing I loved about this movie was how Colin looked in a well-made pair of trousers. He can walk away from me anytime.

The Film Fatales give KINGSMAN 

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