Views from the Sofa’s 100 Greatest Scenes is a list of the 100 greatest moments in the movies. This could be long introductions, moments of action or great dialogue between characters. The scenes are in no particular order and come from many different types of movies.
Kingsman successfully pulled the rug on many preconceived ideas. It managed to reshape the spy movie, making it fun, tongue-in-cheek, ultra-cool, ultra-violent and thoroughly entertaining. The better and more effective rug-pull was making Colin Firth an action hero. The button-up, sophisticated gentleman from the Bridget Jones movies manages to throw off the shackles here and goes full James Bond. There is now where else this is better exemplified than in the great Church-Fight scene.
Warning: Following video contains extreme violence, language and gore
Greatest Scene Number 27: Kingsman – The Church Fight
The reveal of how bad-ass Colin Firth’s Harry Hart is had already been accomplished in the bar-fight scene earlier in the movie. This scene is to show the effect of Samuel L Jackson’s villain and his master plan to turn the world against each other one bloody and violent brawl. Here it is reduced down to just one church – but the effect is huge.
The music starts off the proceedings. It is fast-paced, beat-filled soundtrack which accompanies the ongoing carnage well. The carnage itself is in keeping with the rest of the film but cranked up to 11. It is violent, bloody, realistic and outlandish. To think that Colin Firth is the one doing this just makes it even more surreal but enjoyable.
Firth is really the star of the scene. He has a lot of choreographed moves to execute, with plenty of different weapons, jumps, leaps and blocks to complete. At no point does this seem unbelievable though and Firth manages to make it look natural, seamlessly seguing from one kill to another, using bodies to block, church-apparatus to kill and dodging the rest of the action around him.
That is the other element that is easy to overlook here. The action that unfolds around Firth is as important to the scene as his violent dispatches. The whole church is tearing itself apart and the choreography and staging involved to have all the different extras fighting convincingly in the background, getting involved in the foreground when necessary, and then back into the distance again, is hugely impressive.
This could have been done a number of ways, CGI, layered effects or just plain “acting” but the fact that you can’t quite figure out how it is accomplished is testament to how well Matthew Vaughn directed the movie. The scene has the impression of a one-shot. It isn’t; there are a few times we see the action from a different perspective, breaking the illusion, but it never feels like we aren’t seeing everything from Firth’s point-of-view.
There is plenty to see as well. The inventiveness of the kills and the unfolding action is another positive of the scene. From using the broken compartments of a gun to blocking a knife attack with a bible, there is so much choreographed action here that you are sure to see much more with each repeat viewing.
Even after all the violence and blood-shed, Firth still has one more acting-class to demonstrate. There are no words in the final seconds of the scene but the look of shock, horror, confusion and realisation are plastered on Firth’s face. It is a perfect prelude to the next rug-pull which occurs outside the church.
Overall, the Church-fight is an example of how to take a well-known, slightly type-cast actor and completely reinvent him. It shows Firth can be an action star, cool, violent and give Bond a run for his money, in one the most inventive and well choreographed fight scenes you’ll see in any movie.