April 22, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine

It's a fact that it is impossible to hate a movie with Colin Firth. It just is. You can't even hate oddball movies directed by the Coen brothers, simply because Colin Firth is in them. He is the Tom Hanks of Britain. But with a better voice.

So it was a genius choice to cast him in this odd, stylized, sort of cheesy action movie. Because even with the ridiculousness of exploding heads and James Bond-esque gadgets, you can't hate this movie. Because, Colin Firth. Now that Liam Neeson has opened the door to old guys being action stars, I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more movies like this, where the old guy is still doing all the action sequences, and less of The Expendables or Red, where they do it, but make constant jokes about how old they all are.

My big issue is that the movie seemed to hedge its bets. It wasn't serious enough to be a real spy/action film, yet it wasn't really funny enough to be a real spoof. Maybe it's just my age, but growing up watching masterpieces like Airplane! and Top Secret! (even Hot Shots!) makes the comparison to this movie rather disappointing.

Ultimately, the casting of this movie is what saved it. Often, movies go south with their choice of the young protege (think: the kid in in A Good Day to Die Hard). A movie hinges on the likability and authenticity of the rebel kid who is going to be taken under their mentors wing. This is why Men in Black was so enjoyable, despite its inherent cheesiness. (But make no mistake, it is possible to hate a movie with Will Smith. Just watch Hitch. Or Hancock.) I wasn't in love with the kid, but he didn't distract me from the movie. Samuel L. Jackson, on the other hand, created an entirely unnecessary lisp (à la Jodie Foster's accent in Elysium), but even he made an okay villain (though his henchman sidekick was far more nefarious and interesting). He could have taken it up a notch with his signature yelling, but instead, he chose to commit to having a lisp. Maybe that's where the movie attempted to inject some humor?

The soundtrack, like so many other semi-decent movies, leads you to believe the movie is better than it is. The extended scene of the entire guitar solo of "Free Bird" that's one long shot of Colin Firth fighting is pretty much the highlight of the movie. In fact, it's probably the highlight of any movie I'll watch this year. And I don't even like violent movies. It's that badass. 

Final word: It's worth watching just to see Colin Firth fight an entire church full of people.

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