Tuesday, 12 April 2016

RAMBLIN' RANT: One change that could have made KINGSMAN better


I liked Kingsman: The Secret Service. Didn't love it, but the things I liked about it I really liked.

My major issue with it was how beholden it felt to the old Bond formula, in one specific way which felt slightly distasteful.

My problem was that the movie ultimately ended up being about a bunch of rich old white guys (who have inherited their wealth) training a young white guy to be just like them and go kill a self-made minority character in order to maintain the status quo (which has been pretty good for rich old white guys, as we've seen recently).


I'm sure this was not the filmmaker's intention, however when the movie is all about jazzing up and 'modernising' the spy flicks of yore (your 60s-70s Bond flicks and their ilk), the adherence to the formula without major modifications just made the film feel like a note-for-note cover of an older movie.

There is one change the filmmakers could have made which might have made Kingsman considerably more interesting, and different, than its inspirations.

It's pretty simple: make Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) Eggsy.


All of Harry Hart's (Colin Firth) talk of bringing in new blood, and Eggsy's rivalry with the blue bloods during training, would have packed so much more impact if Eggsy was played by a woman of colour.

Heck, throw in the disability as well. Maybe she gets crippled in her first assignment and has to work her way back into the fold.

We've seen female heavies a million times, not to mention henchmen with weird disabilities/superpowers. Nothing new there, and having two non-white antagonists with odd deformities facing off against male WASPs with gentrified backgrounds (don't bring up Roxy, she gets almost nothing to do) is a trope that 's been with us since the days of Bulldog Drummond and Fu Manchu.

 Think of all the scenes where Eggsy has to prove himself -- all would be improved if the disjunction between Eggsy and the members of Kingsman were more pronounced. How much more rewarding would it have been if Eggsy was not an English gent? How much funnier would it be? The opportunities for really satirising the antiquated tropes of the Bond formula are endless, and sadly unexplored. Instead we get an anal sex joke.

Making the 'new addition' a young white guy, whose father was a part of the organisation, is so pat. It just highlights how old-fashioned and unadventurous Kingsman really is. While it has fun with the tropes of old-school Bond, it also replicates the underlying ideology of those films, projecting a world in which 'good' is defined as an Englishman in a suit, and 'evil' is everyone else.

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