Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
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Simply put, Kingsman is one of the best times I've had at the cinema in years.
It's gloriously self-aware, gleefully violent, wickedly hilarious, and oh oh so much fun. From the moment a helicopter missile slams into a Middle Eastern palace in time with the beat of Dire Straits in the opening seconds of the movie I was on board, and from there the film goes from strength to strength in what is a truly wild ride, including an action scene for the ages featuring Colin Firth of all people kicking ass while Free Bird blares loudly in the background. And if you don't think that sounds incredible, there's probably just something fundamentally wrong with you.
All the cast are at the top of their game, none moreso than Samuel L. Jackson ("I always thought those old Bond movies were only as good as their villains") and what's more they all seem to be totally in sync with director Matthew Vaughn's insane vision of just how far you can push the tropes of spy movies into absurdity without becoming an out and out parody. He builds on much of his previous work, not only in terms of ideas but also in the development of his trademark style, which is at its brightly coloured, slow motion, pumping soundtrack peak here. If you thought the hallway scene from Kick-Ass was pretty sweet, then you ain't seen nothing yet.
My only complaint is the slightly dodgy CGI, which unfortunately is at its worst in the opening titles. Rest assured however that things get better, and when you realise that this film was made on a comparatively small budget, it really is remarkable just how slick and polished most of it looks.
All I can say is see this movie. It's a dream come true for those who grew up on a diet of classic Bond and 80s action flicks and long for a return to that level of unashamed fun and self-awareness. There's a time for Bergman and a time for ridiculously enjoyable, enjoyably ridiculous action movies, and for those who aren't predisposed against the latter, you simply can not do any better than this.
The exploding head scene may have been one of the weirdest things i've seen in a long time :-)
If you think James Bond is too damn serious and too much like Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer, then this is the movie for you.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #219 in FOK!'s Film Top 250
This movie ranks #291 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Worldwide Box Office
This movie ranks #932 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office