Vaughn’s spy spoof is a wildly energetic affair, inspired and misfiring by turns, which encompasses both scenes reminiscent of late period Roger Moore Bond films and moments that wouldn’t be out of place in some of Danny Dyer’s lesser lad movies.
The over-determined screenplay by Jane Goldman and Vaughn is based on the comic book The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. It is full of in-jokes and self-parodic references to everything from Austin Powers and Tarantino to John Le Carré. There is so much going on that whenever one scene falls flat, something livelier and more effective soon follows.
One of the film’s more confused elements is its attitude toward the British class system. On the one hand, it celebrates the noblesse oblige of its well-spoken spy heroes in their Savile Row suits. On the other, it highlights their snobbery and secrecy. There is an irony (presumably intentional) in casting Michael Caine as the quintessential establishment figure who heads up a spy organisation comprised primarily of public school boy types. Faced with a potential new recruit, he reacts just as Margaret Thatcher might have done, asking “is he one of us.”
Best films to watch in 2015
Best films to watch in 2015
1/9 Suffragette - 11 September
Meryl Streep is bound to make a formidable Emmeline Pankhurst in Sarah Gavron's new film about the British women's suffragette movement of the early 20th century. Streep is again working from a screenplay by Abi Morgan who also wrote The Iron Lady.
2/9 Far From The Madding Crowd - 1 May
Thomas Vinterberg turns his hand to Thomas Hardy and British costume drama. Memories of the John Schlesinger version with Alan Bates and Julie Christie will be hard to exorcise. Carey Mulligan and the mercurial Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts star as Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak.
3/9 Jurassic World - 12 June
The third Jurassic Park sequel is finally here starring Chris Pratt. The storyline goes something like this - theme park gets dinosaur to attrack visitors and it all goes horribly wrong. Should prove a fun one among cinema-goers.
4/9 Terminator: Genisys - 3 July
Arnold Schwarzenegger kept his promise - he's back and he's trying to stop Judgement Day.
5/9 Spectre - 6 November
Bond is back for the 24th time. So is arch-villain Blofeld. Director Sam Mendes did a sterling job with Skyfall but the last movie ended on a very downbeat note with poor old Judi Dench signing out of the series. The challenge now is to reinvigorate a franchise that is already well into its 50s.
6/9 Cake - 20 February
It's Rachel from Friends as you've never seen her before as Jennifer Aniston plays Claire Bennett - a woman who initiates a relationship with a widower while battling hallucinations of his dead wife.
7/9 Suite Francaise - 13 March
It will be intriguing to see how Saul Dibb’s long-awaited adaptation of Irène Némirovsky’s novel deals with a problem that has often confounded British film-makers: how to portray French characters played by English-speaking actors in Nazi-occupied, wartime Paris without slipping into ’Allo ’Allo!-style caricature. Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas lead Dibb’s promising cast.
8/9 In The Heart Of The Sea - 13 March
Chris Hemsworth plays tough seafarer Owen Chase in this dramatic Moby Dick movie.
9/9 Cinderella - 27 March
Kenneth Branagh's live action remake of Disney's classic tale stars Downton Abbey's Lily James. Helena Bonham-Carter and Cate Blanchett also star as the Fairy Godmother and evil stepmother.
Taron Egerton is Eggsy, the Alfie-like youngster from working-class south London who joins the elite organisation. As he himself notes, he is the Eliza Doolittle to the ultra-suave Henry Higgins type played by Colin Firth.
Vaughn’s direction isn’t subtle but you can’t help but warm to the boyish glee with which he tackles even the most preposterous the action sequences. There is one stylishly choreographed and very bloody set-piece which pits Firth against a Church full of southern bigots while the explosive, eye-popping finale references The Last Night Of The Proms in a witty way. Samuel L. Jackson has adopted a Chris Eubank-like lisp and camps it up in enjoyable fashion as a villain in a series of ever more garish baseball caps, an internet mogul who seems one part Steve Jobs and one part Blofeld. Sofia Boutella is also good value as his lithe and lethal assistant Gazelle, who has razor sharp blades for legs, all the better for cutting her enemies in half.Reuse content