'Kingsman' has bells, whistles, little else

February 12, 2015 7:43 PM

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"Kingsman: The Secret Service" makes up its own rules as it goes along. It asks to be taken seriously, then turns ridiculous, then brings out the horn section to indicate the hoped-for triumph of good, then shows people's heads exploding in a CGI sequence intended to be funny. It tries to get by on charm, and like a lot of movies that make that attempt, "Kingsman" does have charm - just not enough.

It tells a story involving a society of secret agents that operates out of a high-end London tailor shop. A riff on British spy movies, it stars Colin Firth as Harry, who is asked by his leader - Michael Caine, of course - to find a potential recruit to replenish their ranks. Harry decides on the so...

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