Matthew Vaughn has made quite a splash in the 11 years he has been directing in Hollywood. His debut film, Layer Cake, was a crackling good thriller that was really the first film to make audiences stand up and take notice of Daniel Craig. He followed that up with Stardust 3 years later, which was a terrific and original fairy tale film that critics and audiences responded to. Another 3 years later Vaughn took the world by storm with Kick-Ass, a comic book adaptation full of over the top violence and language that shocked everyone but the masterful way it was put together coupled with a breakout performance by Chloe Grace Moretz and a memorable performance by Nicolas Cage made this the film that elevated Vaughn’s status. Then after reinvigorating the X-Men franchise with X-Men: First Class he returns once again with a film that redefines a genre with Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Harry Hart (Colin Firth), an elite spy working for the secret organization The Kingsman. His new recruit is a street smart kid named Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) who may end up being more than Hart can handle. But together they must set out to stop a criminal tech mastermind named Richard Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) from a plan to start a mass genocide wiping out specific DNA codes off the planet.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was such a huge surprise. Much like Vaughan’s other big hit, Kick-Ass, it has extreme levels of ultra violence that turned off some viewers, but it is this hyper-stylized action that defines a Vaughan film and it works here brilliantly. Firth is at his absolute best here playing a James Bond-esque character but one that still has a lot of humanity and heart. Egerton, who has really only been in a handful of projects before this, is also great with a genuine charisma and great on screen presence. The whole film is beautiful to look at and the action scenes are next level. The church scene in particular will leave action fans breathless. Oh and did I also mention you get Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Mark Hamill thrown in as well? And Sofia Boutella as one of the most (literally) kick ass villains in quite a while.
Kingsman: The Secret Service breaths new life into the action genre and I can only hope we will see much more of its kind in the future. And the Blu-ray is stunning by the way in both the audio and visual department, in the top 5 discs of the year so far for sure. Very highly recommended.