Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service was founded (and funded) by wealthy families after WWI who found themselves with no heirs. They could see the flaws in their government and its intelligence gathering, so they created a powerful, richly funded organization that NO one knows about or even suspects.

This R-rated (language and violence) action/comedy/adventure is directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Layer Cake" and "X-Men: First Class"). After a bloody opening, this unpredictable romp sets off with a parcour chase through city streets, and demonstrates enough gadgets to impress even Q, of James Bond fame. We see a raw kid recruited for training as a super spy, then we watch him learn the ropes while a gleeful villain launches a brilliant plot.

We see:
  • Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") Harry Hart/Galahad is the recruiter. Our young hero's father had saved Galahad's life at the cost of his own. Dapper Galahad has echoes of Steed from TV's original "Avengers" (including a bullet-proof umbrella) and a tongue-in-cheek Sean Connery from early "Bond" movies.
  • Taron Egerton ("Testament of Youth") Gary "Eggsy" Unwin is the recruit I just mentioned. He's a street tough burdened with a mother who has been going downhill ever since his father died.
  • Samuel L. Jackson ("The Avengers") Did I mention an R-rating? Evil Valentine has a plan to save the world and he's rich enough to do it! I'll bet his product placements for McDonald's Happy Meal and Google Glass help!
  • Mark Strong ("The Guard") Merlin can sort out the applicants until there is only one left standing. This is the perfect role for Strong: It's great to see this wonderful actor (finally!) granted the screen time he so richly deserves.
  • Michael Caine ("Interstellar") Arthur explains to our hero what the villain is doing, and why.
  • Sofia Boutella ("StreetDance 2") is Gazelle, can you guess what she brings to the table? Not only mad hand-to-hand combat skills, but a razor-sharp blade attached to her leg. Emma Peel should have been so lucky!
This carefully choreographed martial arts violence is gruesome and bloody, but the movie is so cartoony our screening audience laughed at that church congregation, and then applauded when the cigarette lighter/ grenade mowed down some enemies. It was also fun to watch our hero bond with the puppy he selected; he thought it would grow up to be a bulldog but it was actually a pug!
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This is the international trailer:
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