kingsman the secret service

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Genre: Spy, Action, Comedy

Release: 2014

Comically campy and vibrantly self-aware, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE should by all means be a surefire hit. However, sloppy direction, bland visual execution, calculated action sequences, hit-or-miss comedy, and an unnecessarily long second act derail the experience into tedium.

kingsman samuel l jackson

You also have to sit through Samuel L. Jackson looking like Spike Lee and speaking with a lisp

Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson make for two very entertaining leads with some great onscreen charisma, causing viewers to wonder why so much of the film is wasted on its boring lead, Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton). There’s nothing inherently wrong in the trainer/trainee conceit, but the film’s second act suffers immensely from an unnecessarily long training montage that fails to really establish any dramatic weight in the overall narrative. Meanwhile, Michael Caine is sorely underused and feels like he was added in for advertising purposes entirely.

kingsman eggsy princess

Not to mention that the third act is entirely motivated by the prospect of anal sex, almost like a film.

The action sequences aren’t what is wrong with KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, but the entire aesthetic feels aggressively forced. Goofy musical juxtaposition feels like a direct result of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s massive success. Lengthy “oner” fight scenes – most notably the scene in the church – whilst entertaining, feel strangely synthetic. This becomes even more obvious when considering the fantastic action that has been provided to viewers in the last few years with THE RAID films and some of Marvel’s better releases.

kingsman church

The only mildly redeemable part of the entire movie

Overall, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is a strange example of a film that should have worked, but resolutely fails to thanks to an underwritten screenplay and sloppy visual execution. When aiming for something bright, campy, flashy, and comical, the expectancy should be that the filmmakers go all out. And yet somehow, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE plays itself just a little too seriously, failing to deliver strong comedy or captivating action set pieces and making itself unapologetically forgettable in the process.

This review originally appeared here.

Verdict: Do Not Recommend

"When I make love, I realize eating steak was the preferable alternative." Sergio is the Crossfader Film Editor and a film connoisseur from Romania. He pretends to understand culinary culture enough to call himself an LA foodie, but he just can't manage to like scallops.

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