“Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals” – Horace Mann
“Manners maketh man” – Colin Firth as “Harry Hart” in ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’
Adapted from a comic book series, Kingsman: The Secret Service focuses on a British organization of “gentlemen” agents created by wealthy Brits after World War I.. Organized like King Arthur’s famed Round Table and with code names from that legendary group of heroes, their front is a tailor shop in London.
“Harry Hart” (Colin Firth – The Railway Man), code name Galahad is one of the Kingsman agents. Nearly two decades ago, his life was saved by an agent-in-training. After Hart returns home, he gives a medallion with an emergency contact number to the probationary agent’s young son, “Eggsy” (young Eggsy played by Alex Nikolov, the adult Eggsy by Taron Egerton).
Fast forward to 2014 and Eggsy is drifting aimlessly after washing out of Royal Marines training. He adores his mother (Samantha Womack) and hates his step dad “Dean” (Geoff Bell – Rocknrolla). He quit the training program to join the Royal Marines and winds up in jail after taking Dean’s car for a joyride. He calls the number on the medallion and Harry Hart shows up to free him.
He tells Eggsy that there is an opening for a new agent at Kingsman, as “Lancelot” was killed by an assassin while trying to rescue “Professor James Arnold” (Mark Hamill – The Big Red One) from kidnappers. “Gazelle” (Sofia Boutella) is a pretty, but extremely lethal female version of Oscar Pistorius. The difference being that her metal legs give her two deadly weapons in addition to exceptional speed. She is employed by “Richmond Valentine” (Samuel L. Jackson – Django Unchained). Valentine is a self-made billionaire and internet pioneer and has just announced the distribution of free SIM cards that will give everyone in the world free cellular service and internet connectivity.
Eggsy takes part in the Kingsman selection process to choose the new Galahad. He, “Roxy” (Sophie Cookson) and “Charlie” (Edward Holcroft) are among the trainees being shepherded through the process by “Merlin” (Mark Strong – Zero Dark Thirty). It is a grueling process and when Charlie washes out, only Eggsy and Roxy remain. He fails the final text and she becomes the new Lancelot. Harry has to go on a mission and promises to sort things out when he returns.
He travels to a church in rural Kentucky, led there by some intel he collected in a meeting with Valentine and the plot is revealed. Valentine activates the SIM cards and everyone in the church becomes a homicidal maniac, including Harry. His extraordinary combat skills leave him the sole survivor and lead to a confrontation with Valentine in the parking lot.
With Harry no longer part of the equation, and “Arthur” (Michael Caine – Now You See Me) no longer a factor, it is up to Eggsy, Roxy and Merlin to stop Valentine from turning the entire world into a mass of maniacs killing each other until only those chosen by Valentine to survive remain.
Both spoof and homage to the Bond genre of spy thriller, Kingsman: The Secret Service is highly entertaining and the talents of its key cast members allow it to overcome the few moments where it ventures too far over the top. I look forward to the inevitable sequel.