260. Kingsman: The Secret Service

In this episode I read out some poems written by listeners, and then it’s time for another episode of LFC (Luke’s Film Club). This time I’m reviewing the film Kingsman: The Secret Service. [Download]

Poems
Thank you for your poems in response to episode 258. I read some of them out in this episode. You can find the poems under episode 258.

kingsman_the_secret_service_ver7Kingsman: The Secret Service Film Review
Message from Dongsik (South Korean LEPSTER)
Luke, how are you?
It’s so abrupt but may I ask a favor of you?
Someday in your podcast, could you explain British culture in the film ‘Kingsman : the secret Seervice’? or just tell the audience about your thoughts on the film? If you don’t mind. For example, accent, clothes, social class, colin firth, whatever related to UK in the film. The movie really brings me back to UK. It’s so impressive to me.
I don’t push you, I kindly ask you, so I hope I could listen to those things in your podcast someday.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Trailer)

Overview
-What kind of film is it?
-Who directed it?
-Who is in it?
-What’s the plot?
-What did I think of it?
-Elements of British culture
Certain symbols or icons of Britishness or certainly London life.
Class: The upper class & the lower class.
Posh people & chavs/hooligans

Good Things
It’s fast & furious, it’s never boring, it is visually quite arresting, there are some great actors involved, some gripping moments of action, and some genuinely shocking and stunning moments. It’s pretty funny and entertaining.

Bad Things
It’s a bit too ‘laddish’ for me. It’s too violent (Did I say too violent? Me?) I’m okay with violence in films usually, but this seemed to go over the top, in one scene in particular – and seemed to just enjoy the cartoon violence a little bit too much, like in Kill Bill Vol.1. It has its cake and eats it too – it’s parodying all the clichés of spy films, but at the same time celebrating them, and bringing the genre back to a point before it was post-modern and deconstructed.

It seems to have the same values as an old Bond film from the 1970s. It’s stylish and very British, but also misogynistic and quite right-wing. The ending, for example, is like something from the end of a Roger Moore film, but even more suggestive and explicit. Perhaps I’m being old-fashioned or something, but I found it to be a confirmation of sexist stereotypes. I think it was misjudged and a bit clumsy to end on a moment like that.
*Spoiler alert* I explain the ending here… (no great surprises though)
Posh images: tailors on Saville Row and their suits, umbrellas, pinstripes, wood panelled offices and gentlemen’s clubs in Mayfair, glasses of whiskey, old school ties, the British Army & secret service, privilege, a sense of entitlement, disdain for the lower classes.
Lower class images: Council estates, pubs full of aggressive criminals, cockneys, young criminals & gang members, petty crime, drugs, alcohol, fast cars, domestic violence, an irresponsible Mum who is abused by a violent boyfriend, London grime music such as Dizzee Rascal (although this side of London life is better captured by Attack The Block), London youth dialect.

Culture clash – between working class and upper class.
Much of this iconography belongs to the world of movies, fantasy or simply to the past. Not many people dress like Colin Firth in this film, or indeed act like him.
Other film/culture references: James Bond, The Avengers, Michael Caine films like The Ipcress File, My Fair Lady, The Bourne Identity.

All in all, I think it will do well internationally. The audience in Paris seemed to enjoy it a lot. It will probably be a hit with young blokes around the world who get off on the values of old James Bond movies, and who like comic book violence and a bit of casual sexism too.

Have you seen this film? Would you like to see it?

  • Hi Luke,
    I very much enjoyed this episode and I especially like, that you explained which parts you liked and disliked. You pointed out that the film was quite misogynistic and I would just like to say, that it is great that you speak about these things on your podcast. However I also believe that it is not “old-fashioned” to believe in equal rights and to be a feminist simply means that you believe in equality.

    Thanks for keeping on doing the podcast…it’s always very enjoyable!

  • Luke’s filmclub

    cam someone send me a English sub for this film? i have downloaded it already but no sub

  • handsomeguy

    i heard a news about france airplane crash…..i am worried about you ….

    • I’m absolutely fine. Thank you for your concern.

      It looks like a tragic crash and my thoughts go out to everyone who was involved. I expect there will be quite a lot of Spanish and German people on board, as it was a flight from Barcelona to Germany.

  • Amber

    Strike at the Day Factory – ha ha ha… I hope there’ll be no strike and delaying at the Season Factory, Department for producing Spring. :-D Sunshine feels so good.
    No, I haven’t seen Kingsman yet.
    Thank you so much for reading my poem. I was blushing while listening. I’m happy knowing you liked it and it made you laugh a little, so my mission is accomplished.

  • After listening to the episode, I feel like going home, locking myself in, and playing FIFA

  • luis

    I think this film is a bit fantastic do you? Maybe it’s a easy film to learn english seeing like mollietai wrote

    • The film contains lots of British English that for sure. You can hear examples of several British dialects – posh/upper-class and lower-class dialects.

  • I think that this film has the touch of British culture . It might be difficult
    to understand their accent and lifestyle . Action-packed films are usually involved in criminal activities , sex , violence , rude words … etc . It’s definitely not my liking , but I may give it a try to learn some British
    English .

  • I thought Amber’s poem was well written! Respect.

    • Amber

      Thanks, Zdenek! I expected you to post another rap song you did, or just a text of your poem, to be honest. Anyway…
      Cheers!
      I haven’t listen to this episode yet. Didn’t have time. But I’m looking forward to “do my homework” this weekend.
      :-)