Did you see the film ‘Trading Places’? How about ‘Nikita’? ‘Pretty Woman’?
Why did I watch it?
Unfortunately, Kingsmen has nicked that entire schtick.
Did it meet expectations?
The film, with a certain amount of self-consciousness (and an even greater measure of self-satisfaction) tries to position itself against the Bourne tendency – action films taking themselves increasingly seriously. There’s certainly a hint of John Steed in Colin Firth’s bowler and brolly but there’s also the influence of late Connery/early Moore Bond (which were, themselves, influenced by The Avengers).
But the bad-taste graphic violence and goriness is definitely not Avengers or early Roger Moore. When I looked up the writer/directory (Matthew Vaughn) and co-writer (Jane Goldman) and saw they also did Kick-Ass I realised why it was familiar. But in Kick-Ass, a commentary on the super-hero movie, it served some satirical purpose. Here the nastiness works against the reinvention of the Brit-spy colourful nonsense genre. And the plotting, alas, fails to make sense even on its own terms.
I also spotted that Vaughn and Goldman were responsible for Stardust which has rather less in common with this.
There’s also a painfully unfunny turn from Samuel L. Jackson as a tedious Gates/Jobs inspired eco-villain. If they were taking inspiration from The Avengers they should have taken a look at The Gravediggers for how to do a dangerously zealous eccentric.
You should watch it if…
- You think Bond films have only gone downhill since Moonraker
You shouldn’t watch it if…
- You think good taste should apply to more than just a well-tailored suit.
Next up: A Walk Among The Tombstones (2014)