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Violent 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' is not for everyone
Colin Firth appears in a scene from "Kingsman: The Secret Service." - photo by Douglas Wright
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" (rated R) 3 stars

Kingsman: The Secret Service" definitely falls into the "very guilty pleasure" category. This film is a frenzy of violence. But as the blood drips away and the bodies hit the floor, a bizarre appeal emerges.

Colin Firth stars as the suave and dapper Harry Hart, identified within a group of super spies as "Galahad." Known as the Kingsman, each member of the organization carries the name of a character from the Arthurian legend. The leader, Michael Caine, is "Arthur," and the technical wizard over training new recruits (Mark Strong) is "Merlin."

And thats where Taron Egerton comes in as "Eggsy." It seems "Lancelot" has met an untimely demise, and the Kingsman need a new knight.

Totally independent of any governmental affiliation and even more secret than MI6, the CIA or the old KGB, the Kingsman have their headquarters in a legendary tailor shop in London. Believing that the new armor is a great suit, they couldnt have picked a better site.

But thats just the tip of the iceberg. A tunnel deep under the shop connects the Kingsman to a country estate, the site of an incredible arsenal and training location.

This is where Eggsy and a gaggle of other young candidates vie to become the next Lancelot. Most of the kids are from prestigious families and the finest schools, but Eggsy is a street kid in considerable trouble with the law. So why is he under consideration? The answer is simple; this boys father gave his life to save Galahad and others in a mission gone terribly awry.

The recruiting process coincides with a strange threat unfolding that could have dire consequences for almost everybody on the planet. Something diabolical is brewing within the mind and the tech empire of "Valentine," strangely played by Samuel L. Jackson, who seems to be channeling an aging rap star with a speech impediment. I was put off at first but came to appreciate the weirdness of it, especially as I began to really get into the twisted homage to the old, classic spy movies where a truly warped villain is mandatory.

What exactly is the plot? It seems Valentine is dedicated to solving the problem of global warming. He sees only one answer, and it aint good news for most of us. His solution and the efforts to thwart it unleash violence so over-the-top it becomes cartoonish.

Firth is wonderful as Galahad, the perfect mix of compassion, GQ demeanor and deadliness. The evolution of Eggsy is delivered admirably by Egerton. Of course, every spy villain needs a henchman, but here its a henchwoman, played lethally and delightfully by Sophia Boutella.

But again, this is a very guilty pleasure and is not for everyone.