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Kingsman: The Secret Service

Spy spoof offers laughs and comic ultra-violence; also, killer umbrellas

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Kingsman The Secret Service Film

Matthew Vaughan's spy caper, adapted from the popular comic book, is a rather delirious send-up of oh-so-classy spies such as James Bond and those who trailed in his bespoke wake. Turns out there is a super-secret spy service hidden within a Saville Row tailor shop, and there's a fresh wave of recruiting. So we get the Hogwarts-like elimination of candidates through various tasks, though it's clear our working-class hero, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), is the next man for the pinstripe. Counseling him is the ever-dapper, ever-droll Galahad (Colin Firth), and bedeviling them both is a naturally ridiculous super-villain (Samuel L. Jackson). It's mostly good fun, if too long and choppy. Vaughan gave us the 2010's super-hero re-do Kick-Ass, and once again delivers that same over-the-top, cartoonish ultra-violence. But there's also a puppy! (Aww...) That has to be assassinated. (What?!) Kingsman would be a better film if it took the time to sort out its issues — geopolitics, class, the "gentlemanly" art of violence — in a more coherent manner. But for a bit of candy-colored "edgy" humor in the gloom of mid-winter, it does provide some mindless respite.

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