THE KING'S MAN
SFX|January 2022
Duking it out
James White

RELEASED OUT NOW! 15 | 131 minutes

Director Matthew Vaughn

Cast Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans

Matthew Vaughn’s plans for extending the Kingsman universe had to take somewhat of a long break due to the pandemic, but he’s finally back on track with this latest entry, a prequel set during the time that Europe and elsewhere plunged into the bloody conflict of the First World War.

Aiming to show how the boutique spy outfit got its start, Vaughn’s focus here (in collaboration with co-writer Karl Gajdusek) is Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford, aka the Duke Of Oxford, a noble with a soldier’s heart – and history – who ostensibly turned his back on warfare to concentrate on helping people via the Red Cross. He’s drawn back into battle when a nefarious, mysterious force begins manipulating world events to sow distrust among nations.

Added to that, he’s also raising 18-year-old son Conrad alone (albeit with the help of riches, a large country estate and the staff commensurate with both) after his wife died on a mission of mercy years ago. As the various European leaders spar – King George, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas, all played by Tom Hollander, clearly having a lot of fun – it’s up to Oxford to step in.

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