Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Kingsman: The Secret Service

(UK, 2014)

Samuel L. Jackson is a crazy billionaire with a hair-brained plan for world peace that involves killing about six billion of the seven billion people now living. He plans to do this by giving out free SIMM cards to everyone who has a cell phone, which by now must be at least six billion people. Trouble is, when he activates them people go into a berserker rage, killing everyone they can reach. Colin Firth works for a super-secret private agency of operatives who do what the government can’t. He recruits a young man from the streets, in defiance of the old tradition of accepting only the children of “proper” people for training in the techniques of assassination and wonky gadgets. The first order of business is to order a bespoke suit from Savile Row.

I went back and forth on this one. It is obviously an homage to those early, silly (but fun) James Bond movies featuring the likes of Auric Goldfinger, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Emilio Largo, Hugo Drax, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and Smersh. There are gadgets galore. (Not to say Pussy Galore.) There are big fights. There is a lot of foolishness that is sometimes fun, sometimes not.

Example: The first time Jackson sets off his murder device, it sparks a melee in a church where every last parishioner is slaughtered in ingeniously bloody ways. We’re talking hundreds of dead bodies. The kicker, what makes it fun, is that this is a queer-bashin’, nigger-hatin’, Mexican-kickin’ congregation that richly deserves to be massacred. Another: In the finale, virtually all the rich and powerful people in the world have their heads explode in glorious color. This includes Obama (seen from the back) and all his cabinet. Oddly, it’s not really bloody. The exploding noggins go up sort of like colorful fireworks. And hell, the bastards never should have let Jackson implant those explosive chips in their heads. Serves ‘em right!

What finally nudged me over slightly into the thumbs up column was Colin Firth. He does a bang-up job, and all by himself manages to inject a little class into the show. This was clearly intended to be a franchise movie, and it seems like it did well enough that I think we can count on a Kingsman 2 in the near future.