Action Adaptation

'Kingsman: The Secret Service' Blu-ray Review: A kick-ass riff on the Bond formula that will leave audiences shaken and stirred

June 10, 2015Ben MK

"The suit is a modern gentleman's armor. And the Kingsman agents are the new knights."

Feature Rating:  

When you think of spy movies, it's hard not to think of 007 himself, James Bond. The iconic film franchise has become synonymous with the genre; and just as it has grown more solemn in tone over the years, so too has the genre itself. Luckily, those who yearn for the more lighthearted feel of sixties-era espionage flicks can find an alternative to the gloom and doom of MI6 in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Based on the Miles Millar and Dave Gibbons comic, the movie revolves around an organization known as Kingsman. On the surface it's a tailor's shop located in the heart of London's posh Savile Row, but in actuality it's a clandestine spy outfit "operating at the highest level of discretion." Led by Arthur (Michael Caine), its dapper ranks include Merlin (Mark Strong), Galahad (Colin Firth) and Lancelot (Jack Davenport), the latter of whom meets his untimely end investigating the villainous schemes of megalomaniacal dot-com billionaire Raymond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, trying a lisp on for size), sending Galahad — whose real name is Harry Hart — on a mission to find his colleague's killer, and to find the organization some new blood.

Harry's search leads him to Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (newcomer Taron Egerton), a South London hoodlum on the fast-track to the nick, who also happens to be the son of another Kingsman agent who met his demise seventeen years earlier. In short, Eggsy's a diamond-in-the-rough. All he needs is a nudge in the right direction, something he receives when Harry takes him under his wing and thrusts him into competition with eight other promising young candidates, all vying for the chance to be Kingsman's newest recruit.

What follows is madcap, over-the-top violent and downright delirious — an unlikely melting pot of George Bernard Shaw, Ian Fleming and Quentin Tarantino that finds director Matthew Vaughn and his co-writer, Jane Goldman, once again working the same magic that made their 2010 superhero flick, Kick-Ass, the subversive, balls-to-the-wall romp that it was. Only this time, instead of spandex tights and flowing capes, they're dealing in state-of-the-art gadgetry, bespoke suits and high-class liqueurs.

The end result is a bloody good time that will leave audiences both shaken and stirred. Just don't think of Kingsman: The Secret Service as another Austin Powers. Because while the movie does unmistakably have its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, it isn't spoofing the spy genre, merely injecting some of the fun back into it. And with a sequel in the works, that means moviegoers will have plenty more ludicrous mayhem to look forward to.

Audio/Visual Rating:  

There's simply no overstating how phenomenal Kingsman: The Secret Service looks on Blu-ray. Hues are crisp and vibrant, from Valentine's colorful wardrobe to the deep greens, browns and golds of the Kingsman tailor shop; detail is impeccable, especially the prints and patterns on the double-breasted Savile Row suits; and black levels and contrast are consistently bold and deep. This is one flawless hi-def image indeed; and the same goes for the movie's 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Dialogue is always highly intelligible; background and foreground music is nice and weighty; and the film's action-packed sound effects, comprised largely of fisticuffs, gunfire and explosions, are thoroughly immersive.

Extras Rating:  

Fox's single-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy of the film, plus the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service Revealed (1:31:41) - A comprehensive, six-part, making-of documentary that delves into the film's various aspects. Panel to Screen: The Education of a 21st Century Super Spy (10:19) explores the origins of both the movie and the comic; Heroes and Rogues (23:09) has the filmmakers talking about the casting of the main characters; Style All His Own (10:49) has the cast lauding Vaughn's skills as a filmmaker; Tools of the Trade (15:21) gives viewers a look at the film's props, weapons and costumes; Breathtakingly Brutal (17:27) focuses on the film's physical action and stunts; and Culture Clash: The Comic Book Origins of the Secret Service (15:09) provides a bit more detailed insight into the creation of the Millar and Gibbons comic.
  • Galleries - A slideshow collection of 51 Behind the Scenes photos, 24 photos of Sets, and 39 photos of Props.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

Kingsman: The Secret Service is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of June 9th, 2015. The Blu-ray features DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and 5.1 Descriptive English audio, as well as Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH and Spanish. The film's runtime is 2 Hrs. 9 Mins.

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