Monday, May 11, 2015
Catching Up: Kingsman: The Secret Service
While it references James Bond, The Avengers, and the Bourne films left and right, it's more of a testosterone-driven version of something like, well, St. Trinian's: loud, bawdy, silly, and gifted with the unlikely presence of a spate of otherwise excellent actors sent to distract from and babysit teenage hooligans. Here the scene stealer is Colin Firth as Galahad, a seasoned spy who recruits young "Eggsy" (Taron Egerton) to ascend from the working class and train to join a secret, world-saving operation. While the premise is one with promise, the film lost me primarily in its handling of the action sequences. To call them stylistically heavy handed is an understatement, and there's such an absurd level of physicality to them that they near slapstick. In other words; they're not graceful, they're not subtle, they read as both overly choreographed and under-considered. The goal each time is a maximum body count in a minimal number of frames, and the problem with that is we see it repeated over and over and over again.
With the exception of a truly brutal massacre in a Southern church, Kingsman fails to balance the possible wit of its components against a type of lead-footed bloodlust. Director Matthew Vaughn (of Kick-Ass, of course) tries to pack absolutely everything into an overly extended run time and winds up pummeling the viewer until the set-pieces just aren't interesting anymore. With some clever editing, this is a work easily salvaged. Unfortunately, in its current cut it's an obnoxious, mildly entertaining bit of brutality.