“THE KINGSMAN” My rating: B-
129 minutes | MPAA rating: R
“KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE”
Tone is the secret sauce of cinema.
A film can have an interesting plot, good acting, great production values…but if the tone is off the whole thing sits queasily on the stomach like a cheap Mexican dinner.
Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman” has a lot going for it. It’s a wicked spoof of Bondish spy films with tons of over-the-top action. At its center it has a nifty mentor-student relationship. And in Colin Firth and newcomer Taron Egerton it has a couple of hugely charismatic leading men.
And yet the tone is, well, iffy.
Borrowing the arched-eyebrow approach of Patrick Macnee’s John Steed from the old “Avengers” TV show, Firth plays Harry Hart, aka Galahad, a member of a super secret agency known as the Kingsmen.
Operating out of a men’s clothing shop in London (which explains why its agents are so nattily dressed with pinstriped suits, tortoise-shell glasses and deadly umbrellas), the Kingsmen were formed decades ago by a cabal of obscenely rich men who thought international security too important to be left in the hands of governments and politicians.
The story — adapted by Vaughn and Jane Goldman from the comic Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons — has two main components.