Kingsman: The Secret Service

February 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

The central theme of this over-the-top action romp seems to be “out with the old, in with the new.” From start to finish, this film announces itself as the replacement for your parents’ spy thriller. And by spy thriller, while it takes on James Bond most clearly, it makes clever reference to the Bourne series and to the TV show 24, as well.  And by “your parents,” it means anyone over 35. With a steady stream of cartoonishly graphic violence, an 80s pop soundtrack and the occasionally first-person shooter view point, director Matthew Vaughn (“Kick Ass,” “X-Men:First Class”) steadfastly reinvents the genre as something part Tarantino, part Wachowskis, and part video game. Though it starts a bit slowly, once it gets moving, it manages to maintain a brisk clip for most of its 129 minutes. But there’s more here than just action; this film manages to also be quite funny, sometimes at the expense of the old-school spy genre and sometimes at the expense of it’s older audience. It also makes sometimes very sly social commentary. One critical scene takes place in a Southern hate church. It could have taken place anywhere but there’s a reason Vaughn chose the scene he did, especially when pairing it with a Lynyrd Skynyrd soundtrack. Only time will tell us if this represents the future of action films but, I for one, felt like I was getting a small glimpse of the what’s to come.

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