Some films are timeless classics — “Citizen Kane” and “Smokey and the Bandit” come to mind — others require an occasional reboot to resonate with current generations of moviegoers.
Roger Moore added bell-bottoms to James Bond’s wardrobe and “Austin Powers” elevated the secret agent parody to an art form (at least compared to Derek Flint).
If the spy genre is ripe for its next incarnation, it could do a lot worse than “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
Based on a comic series, “Kingsman” synthesizes plucky action, espionage and a hip blend of cheeky humor without sacrificing the mannered gentlemanly charm and gravitas of Sean Connery’s archetypal Bond.
Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) is Galahad, one of a small team from a long line of secret agents operating under Arthur, played by Michael Caine. Galahad takes under his wing a rowdy street chap named Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the son of an agent who sacrificed his life for the Kingsman years earlier, and he shows the lad all the ropes.
Just in time, too. A megalomaniac tech titan (Samuel L. Jackson curiously channeling a Mike Tyson lisp) has concluded that the only way to reduce climate change is to cull the population. With the help of his hot henchwoman Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), her weaponized prosthetic legs (take that, Oddjob!) and free SIMs for the huddled masses, Jackson sets out to do just that.
“Kingsman” has a similar feel to writer/director Matthew Vaughn’s other works. The pruning and training of young candidates is reminiscent of 2011’s “X-Men: First Class” and the sometimes over-the-top, stylized violence is straight out of 2010’s “Kick-Ass.”
Firth, who at one point single-handedly eradicates an entire congregation without once stammering, is an unlikely action star, but plays the hell out of the role, as does his Mini-Me Taron Egerton. Less can be said of Samuel L. Jackson, who is as miscast here as is “Star War’s” Mark Hamill. (Fun fact: Jackson played another comic villain in the underrated M. Night Shyamalan film “Unbreakable.”)
Some of the choreographed violence might be too much for moviegoers (that, or the highly-publicized scene in which President Obama’s head explodes), but the film moves at a quick pace and the action is riveting, which is par for the genre and thus doesn’t disappoint.
I doubt that the Kingsman will supplant James Bond, but will do until the next embodiment.
Med City Movie Guy’s rating: 3 Honks