Matthew Vaughn's latest offering, Kingsman: The Secret Service, is a riff on the gentleman-spy movie genre that seems to have got too serious lately. It is daring with its extreme, comically-portrayed violence, but viewers unfamiliar with Vaughn's work may find it all a bit too much for good taste.
Spy organisation Kingsman needs a new recruit, so Harry Hart (Colin Firth in a nice suit) offers Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a 17-year-old delinquent, a fresh start. As Eggsy competes against more sophisticated candidates, he must thwart the evil plans of billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson with a silly lisp).
The film is generally funny and enjoyable to watch, absurd and gripping at the same time, but the script is cliched in places, and the ending is forced.
Egerton gives an applaudable debut performance, although he's too well-dressed for a street kid. The fighting is well choreographed, but even though it's comically filmed and relatively gore-free, it's still shocking to see so much killing going on.
The gadgets are also a disappointment, just a grenade disguised as a lighter, a poisonous blade that sticks out of a shoe, and bullet-proof umbrellas.
This one is definitely not Vaughn at his best.
Contains strong language and scenes of violence