• Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) -- Explosively great time that remains appropriately uncivilized and modern, 9/10.
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Your host, and film critic Jonathan Paula reviews everything from opening day releases, recent DVDs, upcoming trailers, and classics from years past. Each "Quick Review" is an excerpt from a full episode, which airs on the Jogwheel channel every week.
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~~ Review Script ~~
Based on Mark Millar's comic book series of the same name, this British action spy film from director Matthew Vaughn was released stateside on February 13, 2015 - where I suspect it will easily recoup its $80 million dollar budget. Opening to the sounds of "Money For Nothing" by the Dire Straights as exploded bits of a Middle East castle crumble away to inventively spell-out the feature's credits - it's obvious from the start that this is a picture with personality. The 129-minute story follows an unrefined street kid who is recruited into an ultra-secret spy organization just as an eccentric megalomaniac threatens the world's population. Feeling like a wonderful blend of "Men In Black", without the aliens, plus the classic James Bond structure - this feels like familiar and new all at the same time. Colin Firth stars as one of the highly skilled titular agents, who quickly teaches a group of aggressive bar flies a lesson with his ass-kicking skills. When teaching his newest pupil about manners and behavior, Firth advises, "Being a gentleman is not about the circumstances of one's birth. Being a gentleman is something one learns." Virtually unknown to American audiences, the central protégé protagonist is played by Taron Egerton in a remarkably effective performance. With his thick accent and charm, he quickly convinces us why he's worth rooting for - making his struggles to become the next super-spy that much more rewarding. The supporting cast includes the inspired decision to have Samuel L. Jackson play the colorful villain with a distracting lisp and a fear of blood: every time he's on screen, he overshadows his co-stars. Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson, and even Mark Hamill contribute great characters as well - all incorporated into the fast-moving script with ease. Firth and others employ the aid of futuristic gadgets like bullet-proof umbrellas, poison-tipped shoes, and eye-wear that resembles an extremely advanced version of Google glass. Utilizing clever scene-transitions, motion-tracked movement, and kinetic editing - this picture has a unique style all its own, that also makes the mayhem easy to follow. Although there's less action-scenes here than I would have liked, the amazing inclusion of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" during one massacre in a Westboro Baptist Church is so damn fun it makes up for it. Reminiscent of John Barry's early work in the 1960s, Henry Jackman's score keeps things energized during a palm-sweating sky-diving exercise equaled only in intensity to a similar scene in "Point Break". A cheeky, almost self-aware story, plenty of references are made to "Kingman's" obvious influences. The movie makes some bold R-rated choices that really put it over the top however: exploding decapitations, a penchant for F-bombs, and a well-timed anal-sex joke to close out the picture signal that this is a spy-franchise for a new generation. Although it occasionally falls into the pitfalls of the genre it pays homage to, there are enough applause-worthy moments and surprising twists to warrant repeat viewings. It's still way too early for any sequel rumors, but I'm definitely hoping this picture receives a few follow-ups. "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is an explosively great time that remains appropriately uncivilized and modern, I thought it was AWESOME.