Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
This is a movie about a super secret British spy agency that employs the best fighters and tactitions, gives them fancy devices, has elaborate methods of protecting their information, and battle villains who try to take over or destroy the world. This is not a James Bond film. After all, the kid (Taron Egerton) who is being recruited to become a Kingsman drives a Subaru WRX (stolen) and a London Cab (also stolen). Not an Aston Martin in sight, so clearly this isn't Bond.
Instead, we have more of a combination of a new interpretation of Bond combined with Wanted. We have a skilled middle-aged man who shows a very competent ability to dispatch his enemies who is then cut down. We are then introduced to a young man who doesn't really know what he's doing with his life, but he has untapped skills (no slow motion curing of bullets or anything). Then, Colin Firth jumps in to recruit the boy into the secret society where his father was a great soldier. He will be trained and then let loose on the man who will be made out to be the ultimate evil.
Mark Strong heads up the training of all of the prospective candidates. Yup, there is a Hunger Games style battle to see who will survive to the next round. We get the teenage-ish interactions and love story and everything to make this suitable for the younger crowd. Leading the whole effort is a group of relatively faceless aristocrats and Michael Caine. If you need to get a dignified Englishman to fill the role of a head of something British, you could do worse than Michael Caine.
Samuel L. Jackson is our bad guy. I don't know why he decided that this lisp-wielding character was the way to play it, but he seriously shouldn't have gone that way. He's the least intimidating bad guy I've seen in a while, and the evil plan that he comes up with is completely ludicrous. BUT, that's kind of par for the course in these over-the-top spy action flick. So, we are left with his stupid sideways hat, lisp, and even those funky glasses that are pretty damn annoying. Slightly more annoying is trying to figure out the physics of the leg blades that his heanchwoman (Sofia Boutella) uses to slice people up. Every time she walks across that beautiful wood floor, I can't help but think of all of the deep gashes she's making every time she steps.
So, ignore the crest of the Kingsman that adorns all of their guns and tie clips and hip flasks and everything else they are issued by the super secret society that no one has ever heard of or knows about. Ignore the amazingly stupid evil plan and the hat and lisp that Sam Jackson is sporting. Ignore the contrived backstory and the unrealistic coincidences. Pay no attention to the massive government waste and no oversight that is required by the very existence of the Kingsman. Just enjoy the ride of a pretty good spy/action flick.
Acting was good
Story was ludicrous
Dialog was actually pretty good
Action was very good
Direction was good
Bottom Line: A movie that was good enough that there will inevitably be a sequel that will not match it.