Whew. The Inquirer article’s done, and I sent it off. If you’re from around here, you’ll see the piece in this Sunday’s issue.
That clears my sked for the month.
Meeting the deadline (well, meeting it a day in advance—I always make it a day earlier than it really is, sometimes more, just to give me a bit of leeway just in case something untoward happens) gave me a bit of time to catch one more movie: I finally saw the overwrought and very silly but exceedingly fun Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Briefly, it’s about a highly funded and highly secret international spy organization composed of 12 operatives called Kingsmen, the modern-day equivalent of King Arthur’s Knights of The Round Table, restoring peace and order to the world on the sly for decades.
One of them is killed while on a mission, and the others immediately set about looking for a replacement. One of them, Galahad (actually Harry Hart, played by the aging Colin Firth with a surprisingly spry take on James Bond), picks the son of a former colleague who saved his life at the expense of his own many years ago.
The son (Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton), who’s a bit of an underachiever, is a teenager who’s down on his luck and his options, and who’s only too glad for the opportunity.
A large part of the film is about Eggsy and his training to be a Kingsman, and about a billionaire named Valentine (played, again, by Samuel L. Jackson—I told you he’s everywhere) as a cool hip-hoppy dude with a lisp, and his henchwoman with razors for feet, played with sexy menace by Sofia Boutella.
Valentine is a techie madman who means to cull the planet in order to save it (don’t ask), and it’s up to Galahad and Eggsy to save the day.
Which is why it is way disconcerting for Galahad to be killed by Valentine halfway through the movie. After this wonderfully violent set piece in a redneck religious service in Kentucky where Galahad and the congregation try (and largely succeed) to kill each other in a mad frenzy ,in a small test of Valentine’s culling method, Valentine shoots Galahad in the head.
Huh. Reminds me of that scene in Deep Blue Sea where one of the main characters (again, weirdly, played by Jackson) is eaten by a shark in the first act in the middle of delivering a stirring speech.
So we’re left without a main protagonist and are forced to side with still-raw Eggsy for the rest of the movie, as he tries to stop Valentine from carrying out his plan.
I won’t get into the details anymore, but suffice it to say that the film is done tongue-in-cheek and way over the top, particularly the riotous final act, which is played in Valentine’s mountain retreat with, apparently, a cast of thousands who die horribly.
Big-budget films done this way are pretty rare these days, and it’s nice to see studios still making them. It’s mindless, crazy fun, and that’s all you should expect from this film. If you check your disbelief at the door, you could conceivably have a nice time with Kingsman: The Secret Service, despite yourself.