Archives For Samuel L Jackson

Having already tackled his work with 2010’s Kick Ass, director Matthew Vaughn returns to the material of l’enfant terrible, Mark Millar with Kingsman: The Secret Service. Loosely based on Millar’s comic book The Secret Service, the film stars Taron Egerton as Eggsy, a London kid from the wrong side of the tracks who is taken under the wing of Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a friend of the yobbo’s father. In reality, Harry is also a gentleman spy for the Kingsman agency who set up shop, literally, on Saville Row. Harry believes that Eggsy is just what the secret sevice needs to bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, much the chagrin of it’s head of operations, Arthur (Michael Caine). Whilst Eggsy tackles his spy training head on, internet tycoon Richmond Valentine (a lisping Samuel L Jackson) is traversing the globe looking for the rich and powerful to join him in his solution for global warming. Spoilers: he’s up to no good. Can Eggsy and Hart stop him before it’s too late? Cue a dramatic sting.

With a script co-written with his usual collaborator Jane Goodman, Vaughn’s Kingsman is an explosive and blackly humorous response to the po-faced spy thrillers such as the Bourne Trilogy (there is no fourth) and Daniel Craig’s Bond. It’s also spectacularly violent, with a large portion of that violence being dolled out at a Westboro Baptist type church scene that is equal parts vulgar and memorable. Anyone raising an eyebrow at Colin Firth being in an action film will be pleasantly surprised as he fights his way through the aforementioned scene that feels like both The Raid movies compressed down to five minutes. Egerton, meanwhile, never plays Eggsy as an over the top chav, ensuring that the audience truly invests in his growth as butt-kicking spy.

Whilst the film never lets up, there are some missteps. Kingsman was clearly filmed in the UK, and its apparent in many a scene that steps foot outside the British Isles. Admittedly not the crime of the century, but it does take you out of the film. Additionally, like much of Millar’s work, Kingsman doesn’t really have time for women. It has nothing on Kick Ass 2’s playing rape for jokes,  but it’s hard not to wince when, for example, Eggsy’s mum (Samantha Janus) goes from being a strong role model for her son, to a coked up layabout as soon as her husband dies, I’m not suggesting that people are affected by grief in different ways, but the contrast is shocking. The film’s light misogyny comes to a head in a final scene joke that attempts to satirise the typical ending of a Bond movie, but instead manages to rewrite Eggsy character unnecessarily.

If you’re willing to over look these missteps, then you’ll find Kingsman to be, for the most part, a blistering, balls to the wall comic book adaptation.

Advertisements

RoboCop (2014)

June 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

Michael Keaton plays the CEO of OmniCorp; a corporation with designs installing their humanoid drones across the United States in the spirit of maintaining peace. And profit. And justice. But mainly profit. Despite having the media in his back pocket (personified by Samuel L Jackson’s Bill O’Reilly – sorry Pat Novak), Keaton is having trouble convincing America that machines with deadly weapons are really the best thing for policing its streets. When young detective, Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is horrifically disfigured after a car bomb, a plan is put into place to bring about the first hybrid of man and machine, or – to those of you paying attention at the back – RoboCop!

Whilst there are car chases and gunfights and all the fun things to keep you chomping on your popcorn, his interpretation of RoboCop feels more like the opening chapter to a story than a stand-alone film with its heavy expositon. The script seems to think we need to see every step towards Murphy’s transformation from emotional human being to steely eyed, unquestioning drone. So, we witness training montages with watchmen’s Jackie Earle Haley’s mean sunuvabitch drone controller and boardroom discussions with Gary Oldman’s compassionate medical team. It’s all stuff that could have been condescend to 20 minutes of the opening act.

The nihilism of the original has been jettisoned in favour of more emotion through Murphy’s family who, unlike in the original, are front and centre for the majority of the film. As such, we spend large gun-less sections of the film worrying about Murphy’s humanity and compassion. It’s a bold move, but it doesn’t entirely convince and, unfortunately, it all just feels superfluous to what people have paid to see, which is RoboCop robocopping.

When it was announced that Paul Verhoeven’s seminal and ultra-violent RoboCop was up for a reboot, eyebrows were raised so high, they could only be brought down by industrial machinery. But on the basis of what’s on show Jose Padilha’s reboot, there’s not that much on show that justifies the vitriol that was fired at it with angst cannons. But then it’s also not exactly winning us over.

Original review can be found at https://earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/robocop-2014/

About The Author
My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.

If you like what you see, I am available for hire. You can contact me via the social media channels above or the form on my home page.