KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE - EMPIRE REVIEW

It’s hard to argue with a billion bucks at the box office, of course, but at the same time it’s hard not to feel that the Bournification of the James Bond franchise may have robbed 007 of his sense of fun. These days, the upper lip is so stiff that it’s impossible for the old man to raise his eyebrow.

Which is where Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service comes in. It’s got ingenious gadgets, suave heroes with the ability to identify a rare brand of Scotch from smell alone, megalomaniacal villains and deadly henchwomen with blades where their legs used to be. It’s filthy, funny and very violent - and frankly it’s the most fun 007 has been in years.

But of course, it’s not Bond at all. It’s Vaughn’s tribute to spy movies, in much the same impish way that his Kick-Ass was a rocket-fuelled, foul-mouthed tip of the hat to superhero flick. As such it wears its influences on its immaculately tailored sleeve. So Colin Firth’s super-spy Harry Hart wears Harry Palmer specs, brandishes a John Steed umbrella, and has more than a touch of Solo (Napoleon, not Han) about him. But it’s Bond’s shadow that looms largest over the movie, with Ian Fleming’s creation regularly name-checked in an oh-so-post-modern way.

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Published at February 07, 2015

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