Review / ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ (MA) ***

Kingsman: The Secret ServiceENTERING the London showroom of a gentlemen’s outfitter is Eggsy (Taron Egerton) whose dad died 17 years earlier when a Middle-East operation led by Harry a.k.a Galahad (Colin Firth) went pear-shaped. Galahad gave Eggsy a necklet carrying a number to call for help and the code to give when he got into real trouble. And that’s today.

So begins a versatile, young, working-class fellow’s career in a super-secret intelligence agency funded by inheritances that would have gone to the sons of wealthy and public-spirited families had war not claimed them.

What follows that serendipitous first act is not new. Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a technological genius with lots of money, low morals and an athletic female blade-running acolyte (Sofia Boutella), plans a takeover of civilisation as we know it to teach humanity a serious lesson about climate change and poverty.

He’s created his own cloud system to deliver his signal to every free smartphone he has been doling out worldwide to command the phone owner to start fighting the nearest person to the death. Seems a little counter-productive but heck, Valentine’s got the money and the force of loyal minions to enforce his policy.

After surviving a basic training regime under Kingsman adjutant Merlin (Mark Strong), Eggsy, the last-but-one of seven candidates, will join the other graduate Roxy (Sophie Cookson) to invade Valentine’s mountain stronghold and destroy it.

That sums up the screenplay, derived from a comic book by writer (with Jane Goldman) and director Matthew Vaughn. Is it a rival for 007? Probably not. But mildly stimulating the adrenalin, it offers escapism in a fresh and often funny guise.

At all cinemas

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