Saturday, 11 April 2015

Movie review: Kingsman, Matthew Vaughn dir (2014)

Rather than a spy movie this is actually a rather cliched action flic. There are a lot of "in" gags working here, from the secret code whispered down the telephone line to the lethal, knife-enhanced Oxford shoes, from the secret underground bunkers filled with high-tech equipment to the loony mastermind bad guy with a speech impediment. The Swedish princess who offers herself as a reward to the hero at the end of the movie is just like a cherry on the chocolate cake, as it were.

As an action movie, however, the film also falls short in many ways, although the hand-on-hand combat is stimulating, even though sometimes you feel like you're inside a first-person shooter game. There is little suspense, for a start. It's quite obvious from everything else in the movie that Eggsy's mother isn't going to harm the little bub. And she doesn't. Because Eggsy saves the world. Ho hum. Puhleeze! I found the class-based sniping among the new recruits quite fun for a while but even that palled eventually. I guess the Americans have never really gotten over the fact of an aristocracy. Well, poor them.

The only really interesting thing about the movie is the Samuel L Jackson character, Valentine. He's the first IT billionaire I've ever seen as a Bond movie villain, so that's a turn up for the books. Making an MIT graduate the bad guy is in a real way innovative, and expresses general anxiety about the way the world has changed over the past 15 or 20 years since the introduction of the world wide web. The internet itself has been around since 1969 but for most of its early years it was only used by the military, academics and people at research institutions. With the WWW everything changed. And it changed rapidly. We are still getting used to the enormous sums of money that are being generated by a certain class of Americans, and this lack of confidence feeds the inception and delivery of movies like Kingsman.

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