Nobody loves honestly adrenalized action scenes (fights, shoot-outs, chases, derring-do) more than myself. By “honestly” I mean action scenes you can at least half-believe in. Two default examples are the car chase in Ronin or subway chase sequence in The French Connection. The latest default example of the wrong way is the skydiving car sequence in the forthcoming Furious 7. The real-deal fight scenes in Steven Soderbergh‘s Haywire, for another example, were damn near perfect. Gina Carano clearly had the moves and the strength and the attitude. Many of the geekboy genre zombies didn’t approve of Soderbergh’s exercise, and yet a lot of these same guys are giving a pass to the cynically disconnected, utterly rancid Kingsman: The Secret Service (20th Century Fox, 2.13). I get what the scheme is but it’s not funny, man. Not exciting, not intriguing…a waste of my time, a ton of money down the well…why?
The point of Matthew Vaughn‘s 007 genre spoof, in the tradition of many God-awful action flicks made over the last 20-plus years, is to levitate outside itself and in fact outside the trust or belief system that all good cinema depends upon, and to deliver cretinous action cartoon riffs. Kingsman, trust me, is pitched to the absolute lowest caste of fanboy plebians, and is incidentally delighted by the many ways that adversaries as well as bystanders can be sliced, hatcheted, drilled, shot, bludgeoned, stabbed and vivisected. Oh, right…that’s part of the attitude humor. Marvellous stuff! You just need to be Drew McWeeny enough to get the joke and ride shotgun with the wavelength. There are many people on this planet who are smarter or wittier or more insightful than myself, but thank God I’ve been given the genetic and perceptual cards to see past the soul cancer serum and pathetic CG shovellings that emanate from films like Kingsman.
Guess who wrote that Kingsman is “as aggressive a slice of mainstream entertainment as I’ve seen in recent memory…fast and brash and told with a dangerous amount of cheek”? Yup.