Kingsman: The Secret Service is the hilarious spy-comedy from director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class) that combines the action of Bond with better comedy than Austin Powers.

Based on ‘The Secret Service’ comics by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, it follows the story of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), a council estate bad boy with a good heart and an abusive step-father. When Eggsy lands himself behind bars, his potential is recognised by Kingsman agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and he’s recruited into the Kingsman training scheme with the chance to become the agency’s next spy.

Meanwhile, billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is plotting a sinister solution to global warming, in the form of a rage-fuelled killing spree spanning the entire planet.

The all-star cast doesn’t stop there, with Michael Caine as head of Kingsman Arthur, Mark Strong as tech-wiz Merlin, and Star Wars actor Mark Hamill as James Arnold. Funnily enough, Arnold is kidnapped by Valentine’s men at the start of the film but in the comics it’s actually Mark Hamill himself. Little things like that do bring up a chuckle.

You can forget everything you know about Colin Firth too. Suave, sophisticated gentleman? King of England? More like kickass secret agent who beats the living shit out of a group of yobs in a pub. And instead of the badass motherfucker we know and love Samuel L. Jackson to be, Valentine is an eco-geek with a lisp who vomits at the first sign of blood.

The juxtaposition of actor and character is brilliant and Egerton portrays the character of Eggsy perfectly, making for some brilliant comedic moments with contrast between council-estate hooligan and educated, rich-boy culture.

If you like action, you’re not going to be disappointed. There’s plenty of it with more spy gadgets than you could shake a lighter-shaped grenade at: bullet proof umbrellas with built-in shotguns, knockout dart watches, the good old hidden blade in the shoe… If you want it, Kingsman has it. And without a shadow of a doubt, the best action sequence by far is when Hart goes bat-shit crazy and brutally murders A LOT of people in one massive brawl.

If you like the old Bond films you’re going to love Kingsman: The Secret Service with its well-crafted characters, tongue-in-cheek humour and great fight scenes. There are actually a few references and a tip of the hat to the old Bond movies too, but sadly (or not, you decide) there aren’t as many cheesy puns.

As Eggsy says: “This ain’t that kind of movie, bruv.”

Andrew Yates

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