Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Review

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Screenplay by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

Based on The Secret Service by Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons

Starring:
Colin Firth
Samuel L Jackson
Mark Strong
Taron Egerton
Michael Caine
Sofia Boutella
Sophie Cookson
Mark Hamill

Running time: 129 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

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My Opinion:

I’ve gone to a bunch of Oscar nominated movies so far this year (Birdman, Foxcatcher, Whiplash…). I could have gone to The Theory Of Everything yesterday but decided I needed a break from all that worthiness and went to Kingsman: The Secret Service instead. It certainly doesn’t take itself seriously and was a lot more fun than all those Oscar nominated ones. I’d rank Whiplash above Kingsman but I certainly enjoyed it more than than Foxcatcher or Birdman. Yes! I rank everything I watch HERE. Doesn’t everyone do that?! 😉

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Kingsman is from director/writer team Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman. They also gave us the delightful Stardust (did I just use the word “delightful”?), Layer Cake & X-Men: First Class. Oh yeah, and Kick-Ass. I freaking hate Kick-Ass! So they’ve once again adapted a comic book by Mark Millar. I won’t even begin to pretend I know anything about The Secret Service comic book so this review is based only on the movie. Anyway – Vaughn & Goldman’s movies are quite varied. Which one is Kingsman the most similar to? You all probably know by now that it’s Kick-Ass crossed with James Bond (I also hate James Bond!). Yet… It works. I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the excessive violence. And, yes, this thing is violent! Wow. I’m a wuss but the gore was more “comedic” than gross and some of the deaths were fantastic (especially a finale toward the end – brilliant). Oh, Vaughn is also married to Claudia Schiffer. Schwing! She’s a babe. How did he manage that??

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They’ve done a fantastic job casting this movie. I’ve never been a huge fan of Colin Firth but he’s PERFECT in this – I loved him. Michael Caine is a pretty obvious choice for his role but it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing his character. Samuel L Jackson is his usual over-the-top self but, hey, that’s what we all love about him! I also really liked newcomer Taron Egerton as the young council estate troublemaker Colin Firth takes under his wing – I can see him being in many more films after this one. It’s also good having two decent female characters – Sophie Cookson as one of the “kingsman” recruits and Sofia Boutella as the kick ass super villain sidekick with deadly blades for lower legs. Oh! And a great cameo from Mark Hamill, who was apparently named in the comic book so I’m sure fans of the comic book liked seeing him in this.

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This movie is obviously a spoof on the James Bond/spy thriller movie but it’s a great, violently action-packed spy thriller itself with a wonderful sense of humor that doesn’t stoop to an Austin Powers level of stupid comedy (hmm – that’s the second Mike Myers reference in this review). The main villain and evil plot are ridiculously fun and I loved the training of the young new recruits in order to hire the next “kingsman”. They even almost managed to make this movie non-sexist, unlike the Bond films. That is, until the “end”. Literally. (You’ll get what I mean, Mike). 😉

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Summary:

I thought Kingsman: The Secret Service was bloody good fun. Fans of Kick-Ass and/or James Bond will love it as will, apparently, people like me who hate both of those! Just be warned that it may be more violent than you’re expecting so maybe don’t take your grandparents to it. It’s a good “buddy” flick or date movie with a girl who’s happy to watch a fun & violent action movie (I think there are more of us girls like this than you realize). Seriously – give me THIS Colin Firth over the one in those obnoxious Bridget Jones movies any day. And, yes – a guy in a tailored suit is sexy.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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**Scene After Credits?: Why do people rush out the SECOND the credits roll?? Anyway, if you do that you’ll miss the extra scene that’s only about ten seconds or so into the credits so it’s worth staying for that. You don’t have to stay until the very end, though, if you really have to pee. 🙂

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Snatch (2000) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. She’s already reviewed The Godfather: Part I (HERE) and Part II (HERE) as well as The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE) and Big Fish (HERE). Thanks once again, Zoe – you’re doing way better on this project this year than I am! Wow! 🙂 Now let’s see what she has to say about Snatch, IMDB rank 112 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews. I know I’ve made a few that are specific to the movie being reviewed. I’ll also do an IMDB update post soon & will post some more logos.

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Yep yep, I am back to plague Miss Mutant here for her IMDB Top 250 Challenge. Definitely provided me with a whole lot of movies to go back to and watch again, though naturally some were enjoyed more than others. Nevertheless, Snatch is definitely a film I have been threatening to go back and watch again for years. I even went as far as to buy it and it has been languishing on my shelf ever since. When nobody selected it for this, I figured now was as good a time as any to get back to it.

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“Yes, London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins… LONDON.” Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz

I am sure most of you have seen Snatch, right? Well, for those of you who haven’t, the best synopsis I could find was the following (pulled from Starpulse): “When a dizzying robbery takes place in the Orthodox Jewish diamond district, a flawless 86-carat gem, the size of an infant’s fist, is lifted in the snatch. Taking it to London, the diamond’s thief and courier, Franky Four Fingers arrives in the city as a stopover en route to New York to deliver the huge diamond to his bigwig crime boss, Avi. But because Franky can’t resist temptation and London is a town with its share of illegal trade, a small crowd of miscreants and malefactors eventually ends up chasing each other and the whereabouts of the diamond. These include: Doug the Head, a jeweller who pretends he’s Jewish because it’s good for business; Boris the Blade, a Russian gangster with a deserved reputation for being impossible to kill; Bullet Tooth Tony, a legendary hard guy and Brick Top, perhaps the scariest of the lot.”

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“I probably know a lot you don’t.” – Franky Four Fingers

Now that we have that out of the way, let us talk about the creation that Guy Ritchie put forth. To say that Snatch has a volume of characters as well as subplots all working their way back into the initial one is an understatement. So much is going on at any given moment that sometimes viewers may find themselves lost upon the way. But stick with it, it all comes together eventually. The cast was really good for what was done here, everyone suiting their character very well. I’m quite a Brad Pitt fan, and I must say his portrayal of Mickey was very funny, he was very entertaining. I also liked how he brought some dimension to the character other than just untrustworthy Pikey. He truly loved his mother, and his reaction to her brutal murder was intense, probably granting the movie its only serious scene, no way to laugh at it, which balanced things out nicely, though it would later give rise to humour again.

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“It’s an unlicensed boxing match. It’s not a tickling competition. These lads are out to hurt each other.” – Turkish

Jason Statham as Turkish and Stephen Graham as Tommy were just classic. Here were two guys that were just seriously not winning, no matter how hard they tried to get things to work for them. As bad as you think their luck is (and truly, it just gets worse and worse), they are easily topped by Vinny (Robbie Gee), his partner Sol (Lennie James), and Tyrone (Ade), their driver. While Turkish and Tommy have crime boss Brick Top (Alan Ford) on their case, the latter trio has Russian gangster Boris the Blade (Rade Šerbedžija) on their tails to track down Franky “Four-Fingers” (Benicio del Toro) and get his briefcase. Boris, in turn, has Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz (Dennis Farina) chasing him down. The diamond has everyone circling themselves, desperate to get it, though initially not everyone is aware of it.

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“You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.”  – Bullet Tooth Tony

The humour works for this film, but I have a feeling a lot of what made this so smart and so witty back in the day may be lost to newer audiences, which is a pity, too, because it came together quite well. Be warned that the humour is rather British, too, and I liked that. The movie is fast, the dialogue snappy, and the events entertaining. Snatch is ultimately still a stylish flick, no matter which way you look at it. As much as I enjoyed this film again, it was not the best thing ever, and I didn’t love it as much as I did when I was younger, and I honestly feel there are far better films out there. If you haven’t checked out Snatch, I would still recommend it; you won’t be wasting your time.