Kingsman The Secret Service, is what it is, a spy spoof. And I thought… MoreKingsman The Secret Service, is what it is, a spy spoof. And I thought a hugely enjoyable one at that. I didn't feel like it took itself seriously at all and some of the action sequences really are very well done. There is a scene in a church that was particularly magnificent and I thought of comparisons with the kitchen scene in XMen Days Of Future Past. Unsurprisingly Matthew Vaughan is involved in both films and I've always been a big fan of his work.
The story is a lad (Eggsy) from a stereotypical council estate and a typical council estate family (i.e. broken and in constant conflict) is someone of unfulfilled potential. Glimpses of talent but lacking the application and drive to see something through to the end. Not sure why he's called Eggsy though, maybe he breaks wind a lot but that's inconsequential and I guess the same can be said for all of the story. What matters in The Kingsman's case is that it is very enjoyable, pokes fun at itself, has a very good cast indeed and some spectacular action. It's also unusual to see someone like Colin Firth in the role of an action hero but it works because he is a stuffy posh English gentleman spy.
I saw some reviews of this where Kingsman has been criticised for its negative portrayal of council estate life and the social and class divide but........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........sorry nodded off there for a moment. It's a story after all and not exactly a political statement. If you want to see a film with a political statement go and watch the excellent Frost vs Nixon or V for Vendetta. Seeing as I'm from a council estate I think I'll reinforce a generalisation by buying a pet from the dangerous dog list, stealing a car and then go and sniff some glue on the roundabout in the park. Marvellous times.
Paul Gascoigne has a special place in my affections for many reasons.… MorePaul Gascoigne has a special place in my affections for many reasons. One was during Euro 96 when we (England) played Scotland at Wembley in the Group stage and he scored that famous goal. Around that time I had not long met a girl and she was going away on holiday with some friends and her train was set to leave around kick off time. At the beginning things were exciting and sexy (as they tend to be) and in a fit of stupidness I agreed to see her off. I regretted this brain burp immediately as it meant me missing the game but for some reason unbeknown to me I was prepared to sacrifice. To cut a long story short the holiday didn't happen and I ended up watching the game at hers and afterwards I was so over the moon that I had got to watch it. One of the best times of my life, upon reflection I was way too easily impressed back then. There is now forever an unbreakable association between that goal and that time in my life and Gazza was responsible for this.
Personal stories aside this documentary is moving at times but felt like it could have been so much more. For me, what makes Gazza is his flaws and his vulnerability and this is more evident in him now than ever before. In this one to one interview there was too much emphasis on the successes and not enough about the disappointments. For example, his unceremonious dumping from the World Cup squad in 98 was hardly touched upon to my recollection yet that episode in his life might be responsible for so much of what has come to pass. There's also very little about his time away from England in Italy and Scotland other than celebrating a goal by performing the sash. I would have liked to learnt some more about this and how he coped (or didn't) with that chapter of his life.
What made us love him as a nation was that he was me and you, he was the boy next door that we could relate to him. He made stupid mistakes in the same way that we all do and had also suffered some shocking tragedies. But allied with the flaws came the genius on the pitch. The care free attitude and a spontaneity that few possess in Sport. What this doc does have are some nice tributes from some very prominent people within the game. His influence on players like Wayne Rooney are there for all to see when he speaks about him.