The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service is about a young, troubled man who gets recruited into a competition. When the young man arrives at an unknown location, he learns that the competition is an opportunity to earn a spot in a secret spy agency. The young man is clearly different from the rest of the candidates, and if he wants to join the agency then he will have to pass a series of trials and prevail over all other competitors.  

Kingsman: The Secret Service does have a somewhat messy beginning as it does not have much gravitas nor does offer anything else to draw in the viewer, but as the film progresses, Kingsman: The Secret Service does get better, and the conclusion is way more satisfying than the beginning. It should also be noted that the film was disappointing in that the only non-White people in the film were bad guys and that all of the women were submissive and dependent as they never did anything on their own unless a man told them to do it. However, the film does deserve some recognition and kudos as it not only featured someone with prosthetics, but it featured someone with prosthetics who kicked ass (this has never happened in film before).

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Kingsman: The Secret Service passed the Bechdel and race test, but it did not pass the Russo test.

There was one instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (i.e., when Roxy told Michelle to hide her daughter) so Kingsman: The Secret Service passed the Bechdel test. The film also passed the race test as there were numerous occasions when non-White characters talked to each other without mentioning White people. The film did not, however, pass the Russo test as there were no LGBTI characters.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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