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Kingsman - The Secret Service (DQ)

6/10

Stars: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L Jackson, Sophie Cookson, Mark Strong, Sophia Boutella, Mark Hamill, Tom Prior, Jack Davenport, Samantha Womack

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Director Vaughn's liking for violent action and blowing things apart is given full rein in this comic-book secret-agent flick that kicks off as a James Bond spoof, but soon veers off into more fantastic Man from U.N.C.L.E. vein, growing increasingly wacky as it goes on.

The action, which rarely pauses for breath, opens as an agent for Kingsman, an international independent intelligence agency, gives his life to save colleagues on a mission. These include Harry, alias Galahad (Firth), right-hand man of The Boss (Caine).

Years later, a bowler-hatted, immaculately-suited Harry turns up at the pub frequented by the dead man's son, Eggsy (Egerton), now grown up (though not very high) into a streetwise kid, whose mother (Womack) has hooked up with a leering bully (Rentatough's Geoff Bell).

Firth soon puts paid to Bell's goons in best Patrick Macnee style and recruits Eggsy into Kingsman, whose bÍte noire at present is a conglomerate led by a lisping Jackson who has an idea to combat global warming by dramatically reducing the population - giving everyone free sim cards that will turn one man against another. Various complications ensue in the overlong, over-silly, but still sporadically entertaining plot that follows, including a not unexpected unmasking of the Kingsman mole.

Egerton, previously seen as the heroine's brother in Testament of Youth, is hardly ideal casting in the leading role, but then who could take anyone called Eggsy seriously?

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2015. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour (unspecified).
128 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Jan 2015