Kingsman is a spy movie with a near-perfect ratio of action, humor that borders on the dark side, character development mixed in with cartoonish fun, and a stylized spectacle of ultra-violence. I have watched it a couple of times; it’s that good.
Movies like Kingsman include the following action-packed movies:
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- American Ultra
- John Wick
- The Equalizer
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard
- Mission Impossible: Fallout
- The Bourne Identity
- Casino Royale
- Atomic Blonde
- The Ipcress File
- Sherlock Holmes
Fans of Kingsman are into cartoonish dark humor, mixed with a big splash of violence, suave one-liners, action scenes that fill the narrative, and character development that knows when to stop being too serious. An entertaining spectacle is what is required. The following movies include some of these traits.
1. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Huge Grant
The movie is set in 1963, at the height of the Cold War. The U.S.A. vs. Mother Russia, enemies until the end, until a top nuclear scientist (formerly employed by the U.S.) goes missing. Believed to have been kidnapped by his brother to work on a nuclear bomb, the scenario forces the two distrusting countries to work together for the sake of the world.
In an unlikely alliance, Napoleon Solo (C.I.A.) and Illya Kuryakin (K.G.B.) accompany the scientist’s daughter, Gaby, to Rome. Her uncle’s company is based here, and any hope of finding her father and the bomb will rely on this covert investigation.
The problem is that Solo and Kuryakin still regard each other as enemies, only adding to their problems while trying to “work” together.
2. American Ultra (2015)
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Topher Grace, Walter Hoggins, and Bill Pullman.
Mike likes getting high, and when this small-town stoner gets high, he loves to work on his graphic novel about a superhero monkey. He also has a girlfriend that loves him dearly. Mike does not know that the C.I.A. trained him to be a dangerous killing machine.
Luckily for him, his former handler activates his dormant skills when the agency authorizes his termination. To his surprise, he is suddenly exceptionally equipped to kill, and his newfound abilities are quickly put to the test.
The very same people that transformed him into a lethal weapon now want to kill him. There’s nothing more dangerous than a stoned cold killer!
3. Spy (2015)
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Mellissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, and Allison Janney
Susan Cooper is 40-years old, she is single, and she works for the C.I.A. as a desk-bound analyst for one of the bureau’s best spies. Secretly, Susan is in love with agent Fine, and being his eyes and ears on secret missions, she feels it’s her responsibility to keep him alive.
When agent Fine accidentally kills the arms dealer Timothy Boyanov without extracting the location of a suitcase containing a nuclear weapon, all seem lost. In steps the reliable Susan with information that Boyanov’s daughter, Rayna, is now the one who is determined to start a nuclear crisis to honor her father’s death.
Fine infiltrates Rayna’s home and manages to get himself killed, as Susan watches in horror. When Rayna reveals, she has obtained the identities of all the agency’s top agents, the C.I.A. boss Elaine Crocker, against her better judgment, decides to send Susan on an undercover mission to Paris.
4. John Wick (2014)
Director: Chad Stahelski & David Leitch (Uncredited)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allan, Dean Winters, and Adrianne Palicki
John Wick is a retired assassin and a grieving widow. The last gift from his now-deceased wife was a cute little beagle called Daisy. John’s wife knew that the precious little dog would give John a new meaning to life and something to live for when she was gone.
When Iosef Tarasov, son of Russian mob boss Viggo Tarasov, decides to break into John’s house and steal his prized 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a chain of bloody events is set in motion. Oh, did I mention that Iosef and his cronies killed Daisy and left John for dead?
John retrieves his guns from the basement hideout and gets a call from Viggo, who tries to resolve the matter. Unfortunately for him and his family, John hangs up the call. Viggo tells his son that John used to be an associate of theirs, and he was called the Baba Yaga, or the Boogeyman.
When Iosef does not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation, Viggo explains, “Well John wasn’t exactly the Boogeyman. He was the one you sent to kill the Boogeyman.” With nothing to live for and a thirst for vengeance, how do you stop the Boogeyman?
5. The Equalizer (2014)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas, David Harbour, David Meunier, and Johnny Skourtis
Ex-Marine, Robert McCall, faked his death to leave his mysterious past behind him. His new life consists of a low-profile existence, far removed from his secretive life of the past, although it still haunts him at times. McCall works at the local hardware store, and when his insomnia hits, he reads classic literature at the 24-hour diner in his neighborhood.
At this diner, he meets platonic friend Teri (a teenage prostitute working for the Russian mafia). After she lands in the hospital due to her “owners” brutality, McCall has no choice but to come out of his self-imposed retirement. Armed with a deadly, hidden skillset, he is about to teach the people who prey on the weak that there is an equal force of justice.
Get ready to meet the Equalizer.
6. Red (2010)
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, and Karl Urban
Frank Moses is retired, lonely, and bored with his life. Retirement is a significant adjustment for him, and the only joy he gets is when he visits the Pension Department. Here he gets to spend time with his caseworker Susan. To see her every month, he tears up his monthly pension check.
Susan is employed, lonely, and bored with her life. The monthly interactions with Frank, and her spy novels, is the only joy in her life. Excitement hits them both in the face when they least expect it. First, Frank’s house is attacked by armed masked assailants, and even though Frank manages to escape, his house is destroyed.
Susan is then abducted by Frank, who claims her life is in danger, a scene straight from her spy novels. With the assistance of the Russians, Frank breaks into the C.I.A. Headquarters and retrieves his personal file. He is surprised that his file is marked R.E.D.- Retired Extremely Dangerous and contacts his former colleagues Joe, Marvin, and Victoria to help figure out what exactly is going on.
Just like Frank, they are also on the R.E.D. List- Still Armed. Still Dangerous. Still Got It.
7. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Young, and Richard E. Grant
Michael Bryce is an elite bodyguard with A.A.A. status. That is until he fails to protect a distinguished Japanese client, who a sniper takes out while his plane is preparing to take off. Instantly Michael loses his A.A.A. protection rating, turning his life into a second-class affair with second-rate clients. Hero to zero in a flash of a sniper rifle.
It turns out it was all due to his ex-cop/girlfriend Amelia Roussel, who now works for Interpol. She understands that Michael is desperate to get his A.A.A. license back. Seeing that she owes him one, she offers him a job to protect international hitman Darious Kincaid from Manchester to Hague. Kincaid is the only witness left (the others have been systematically killed) who can testify against former White Russia president and dictator Vladislav Dukhovich.
The problem is that they hate each other. Darious was the hitman responsible for killing his Japanese client and for Michael’s fall from grace. The irony hits hard, just like the bullets aimed at the unlikely pair.
8. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby
It’s been two years since I.M.F. agent Ethan Hunt has captured the head of the Syndicate Organization, Solomon Lane. Today the leftover members have formed a new rogue terrorist group called the Apostles. Under the new leadership of a mysterious fundamentalist known as John Lark, they plot and plan to steal three plutonium cores.
Ethan and his crew are sent on a mission to intercept these dangerous weapons, but the mission takes a turn for the worst, and the Apostles manage to escape with the plutonium cores as a reward for their efforts. And to add insult to injury, Solomon Lane escapes from prison.
Ethan and his team are forced to work with C.I.A. agent Augustus Walker. The mission is to retrieve the plutonium cores, recapture Solomon Lane, and take out the Apostles and their new leader John Lark, who, just like a demented puppet master, is playing with the lives of humankind.
All in a day’s work for our Ethan Hunt.
9. The Bourne Identity (2002)
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, and Brian Cox
The story begins when fishers pull a drifting body out of the Mediterranean Sea. They find that the man has two gunshot wounds in his back, a laser projector under the hip that reveals a Swiss bank account number, and he is suffering from amnesia.
When the boat lands in Italy, the mysterious man makes his way to the bank in Switzerland, where he finds money, various passports, an identity card, and a handgun. He leaves the Swiss bank with a new identity: Jason Bourne.
When the man with a name leaves the bank, one of the bank officials contacts the head of the C.I.A.’s black ops program (Operation Treadstone), Conklin, to advise that he has seen the box. Conklin then sends three agents to kill Bourne and alerts the police to capture him.
After meeting Mary at the U.S. Embassy, they search Paris for clues of his past life and real identity. What they do know is that someone wants him dead. They don’t know that they are bang in the middle of two assassination plots that are the brainchild of the C.I.A.
10. Casino Royale (2006)
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Caterina Murino, and Jeffrey Wright
“Everyone has a past. Every legend has a beginning.”
Here we get introduced to James Bond before he gets his license to kill, or his 00. After two quick, professional assassinations, he finally gets his license, and agent 007 is ready for his first mission. He is sent to Uganda and the M.I.6. orders are to spy on a terrorist, Mollaka.
Needless to say, the mission goes pearshaped, and 007 decides to do his own little rebel investigation in the Bahamas. He is then partnered with Vester Lynd, and under the instructions of M, they are to go and participate in a poker game at Montenegro and stop a banker to the terrorists, Le Chiffre, from winning.
Should they stop Le Chiffre from winning the poker game and his money back, he will be an unsafe target in the terrorist market, and this outcome will destroy his organization. With help from C.I.A. agent Felix Leiter, they embark on the most violent poker game to date, where the winner truly takes it all, not just the chips on the table.
11. Kick-Ass (2010)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, and Evan Peters
Dave Lizewski is your typical high school student. A social misfit, a natural-born geek, invisible to the popular girls. He spends most of his time at the local comic book store with the two friends he has, Todd and Marty. And to add to his misery, he loses his mom to an aneurysm. Life seems to change around him, yet things stay the same for Dave.
When Dave and Todd are robbed by a couple of street gang members, Dave becomes a superhero. He orders a green suit online, arms himself with two batons, and starts to train himself. A few weeks later, he spots the same gang members who robbed him, trying to break into a car. Dave’s first chance to be the superhero!
Ok, so Dave’s first attempt goes south in the most spectacular way, getting stabbed, run over by a car, and arriving naked at the hospital. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and Dave is on the mend. The one positive he can take from the whole ordeal is that he now has a metal plate covering his skull and some of his interior and possesses a higher threshold for pain due to his frayed nerve endings.
Dave is still very determined to be a superhero and opens a Myspace account for his superhero alter-ego Kick-Ass. When he is filmed saving a man from three attackers in front of a diner, officially unveiling himself as Kick-Ass, the internet goes nuts.
As his fame grows, so does the target on his back. Luckily, he runs into true superheroes, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, who help him along his now challenging journey filled with villains with bazookas!
12. Deadpool (2016)
Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, and Jed Rees
This movie is the origin story of the “Mercenary with a Mouth.” Wade Wilson is a discharged special forces operative turned mercenary. Fate seemed to smile on him for a change when he meets the love of his life and kindred spirit, Vanessa, in the bar where the mercenaries drink.
Life is good suddenly. Wade and Vanessa is a match made in heaven, that is, until fate recognizes its mistake in granting Wade some form of happiness. On the same day that Vanessa says yes to Wade’s wedding proposal, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
When a shady organization approaches Wade and offers to help him cure his cancer, he jumps at the chance. What he is jumping into is a needle containing a strange serum, excruciating torture, burn-like scars all over his body, and an ability to heal super-fast. He manages to escape from his torturer, Ajax, a.k.a. Francis Freeman, when the evil facility burns to the ground.
He dons a black and red suit and mask, his trademark katanas, and guns to hide his disfigured body. He does not come into contact with Vanessa as he fears her rejection. The cancer-free, self-healing anti-hero now has one goal in mind, finding Alex and getting him to reverse the damage. There will be sarcasm. There will be a twisted sense of humor. There will be blood.
13. Atomic Blonde (2017)
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Eddie Marson, Bill Skarsgard, Til Schweiger, and Sofia Boutella
Merely days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, M.I.6. K.G.B. agent Yuri Bakhtin kills M.I.6. agent James Gascoigne. He manages to obtain “The List,” microfilm hidden in agent Gascoigne’s watch. The list contains the names of all the active agents in Berlin on both sides of the coin.
Lorraine Broughton (a lethal M.I.6. agent) is sent to Berlin to investigate the murder of agent Gascoigne and to retrieve “The List” from Bakhtin or whoever has it in their possession. She is on a one-woman mission and will have to use all her spy skills to stay alive in this mission.
Her contact in Germany, embedded station chief David Percival, is on hand to help her navigate the destabilized city. Let the games begin; may the best spy win!
14. The Ipcress File (1965)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Cast: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Aubrey Richards, Frank Gatliff, and Oliver MacGreevy
Harry Palmer is a sergeant (British Army) and is currently working for the Ministry of Defense under the required supervision of Colonel Ross. You see, Harry is an unconventional counter-intelligence officer who disrespects his superiors and prefers to be insolent and insubordinate most of the time.
Colonel Ross “promotes” him to form part of Major Dalby’s counter-espionage unit, replacing a murdered agent, which resulted in yet another British scientist being kidnapped. Dr. Radcliffe needs to be found before the wrong kind of person acquires his skillset.
When they locate Dr. Radcliff, he cannot function as it seems that someone has erased his mind. After an unfortunate incident, Palmer kills a C.I.A. agent and now has the kidnappers and the American agency looking for him. He needs to find out who is behind the kidnappings, the mystery behind Ipcress, and not get himself killed while figuring it out.
15. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Strong
When Sherlock Holmes (detective, boxer, and lover of debauchery) and his observant brother-in-arms, Dr. Watson, catches their occultist arch-enemy, Lord Blackwood, they believe that the spate of ritualistic murders that terrorized London will now come to an end.
Lord Blackwood is sent to hang from the gallows, and Dr. Watson views the spectacle to ensure he won’t kill again. Evil seems to make a comeback as rumors begin to swirl that Lord Blackwood, through the use of the dark arts, has, in fact, cheated death and is still alive and killing.
Sherlock’s feisty old flame, Irene Adler, returns with a hidden agenda to further complicate matters. Together, Holmes, Watson, and Adler must stop the devil incarnate, Lord Blackwood, from implementing his master plan: world domination!
Let the battle of the wits begin.
The movies listed above have some, or most, of the elements in them that made Kingsman such a joy to watch. I hope you enjoy the list, and if none of these movies comes close to what you experienced in Kingsman, make sure to watch Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle; it’s just as good as the first one, or even better for if you listen to the many fans.
The Cinemaholic: Movies Like Kingsman | 10 Must-See Similar Films