Kingsman: The Secret Service – 5 stars
This is a Roger Moore-era Bond flick, but with cheeky self-referential humor, first-rate, modern action sequences and a decidedly South Park sensibility. It features a budding, young James Bond from the wrong side of the tracks (Taron Egerton), his sophisticated mentor (Colin Firth), a megalomaniac, quirky villain (Samuel L. Jackson, with a lisp), his own Odd Job (Sofia Boutella, who slices you with her scythe legs instead of a hat) and a plan to destroy the world to save it from the menace that is man, much like Drax in Moonraker and Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Spoilers follow. There’s no way to do the film justice without talking about the plot.
Jackson, a zillionaire, has decided, like his Bond forebears, that man is a virus. So, he enlists the upper reaches of society – prime ministers, royalty, heads of state (including President Obama) and the rich and powerful – to let him loose a transmitting signal that will make man kill man. And thus, the world will be saved from the global warming man has created through immediate, violent, hand-to-hand near self-extinction. Again, Jackson “enlists” the upper crust. But to ensure they stay the course, he implants a chip in all their necks so, if they do decide to balk, he can blow their heads up. But they don’t balk. The world’s leadership is mostly in on the gig. They willingly and without reservation sign on to the plan that will have mankind wipe itself out, except for the rich and powerful.
This is a delightful, wildly politically incorrect “eat the rich” comic book, which just amps up the absurdity. The Kingsmen not only thwart Jackson’s design, but we get to see it tested out on Westboro Baptist Church-types, who dispatch each other out with gusto in a raucous church melee. Then, a Kingsman activates the implants, so we see the heads of state and the rest of their aristocratic collaborators, blow up.
Some world leaders do not collaborate, and they are jailed. One is a beautiful Swedish princess, blonde and resolute, and when Egerton shows up to save her, as with Bond before, she offers him a kiss and more if he will free her and kill Jackson. And if he saves the world? His prize is enhanced.
That’s a couple of extra stars right there.