(out of 5)
More than a decade after his military father was killed in the field, young punk Taron Egerton has grown up a rough London bloke who is at odds with his brutal stepfather and gets knocked down regularly by the local thugs when he is not in trouble with the law. Meanwhile, a billionaire tech mogul (Samuel L. Jackson) is out to take over the world via the most ridiculous scheme possible (in the grand tradition of the most ridiculous Bond villains you’ve ever seen), which means that the top-ranking member of a secret spy network (Colin Firth) needs to hire a new recruit and get on with the business of saving humanity. His solution is his old colleague’s son, which means pulling the very chav Egerton off the street and putting him through rigorous training against a number of other candidates for the new position at this private spy organization. All this, and Firth has to figure out why it is that notable crowned heads are going missing. The result is a number of over-the-top video game-style fight sequences (including an insanely long massacre at a southern Baptist church) and more than a few exciting action scenes that combine for a gloriously fun adventure, one whose open acknowledgement of stealing from that more famous of British spy franchises adds to many of its sassy pleasures. Egerton never manages to outshine his more famous co-stars, nor does he pull off low class no matter how many baggy jeans they put him in, but is appropriately likeable and suitably bland while a lisping Jackson (dressed as Spike Lee the entire time), the always debonair Firth and Sofia Boutella as a scary villainess with knives for legs do numbers around him in fun character roles.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Cinematography by George Richmond
Production Design by Paul Kirby
Costume Design by Arianne Phillips