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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

June 13th, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a comic book co-created by Mark Millar, who previously created the Kick-Ass comic book series. (On a side note, apparently there is a Hit Girl prequel comic book in the works and if that does well, there might be a Kick-Ass 3 movie that focuses more on Hit Girl. She was definitely the best part of the second movie.) It was a February release, so expectations were good, but not great. However, the film managed more than $125 million domestically and $400 million worldwide. That's fantastic. Is it as good as its box office numbers? Or did it thrive thanks to terrible competition?

The Movie

The film begins in 1997 with a special assault force attacking a fortress in the Middle East. The attack goes really smoothly, right up till the end when one of the four agents, and one of two trainees, sacrifices his life to save the others. The leader of the mission, code named Galahad, goes to the man's widow and his young son to console them. He gives her a medal and a password telling her she can call in one favor. She's distraught and doesn't want it, so Galahad gives it to her son, Eggsy.

Flash forward to the modern day and we see Professor Arnold tied to a chair. He's been kidnapped, but is treated well by his kidnappers. Soon, he is "rescued" by Lancelot, who quickly takes out the guards, only to be taken out himself by a woman with swords for legs: Gazelle. After covering up the bodies, the mastermind behind this plan shows up: Valentine.

We meet Galahad again and he meets with his boss, Arthur. The pair and the rest of the Kingsman toast to Lancelot. Arthur tells everyone that they will need a replacement and everyone must come up with a suggestion. After that, Merlin enters and describes the mission Lancelot was on. He was looking in on a group of extremists who used a biological weapon that caused extreme violence and even cannibalism. However, in the the second attack, there were no traces of chemicals found. Furthermore, Professor Arnold, is an environmental doomsayer. (Given the evidence that I just saw today, being a doomsayer is being a realist. Anyhoo.) The kidnap victim that Lancelot died trying to save is no longer dead and it is Galahad's job to investigate. Before he goes, Merlin offers him one piece of advice: to try to select someone more suited for the job and not someone like his last trainee. Despite the fact that his last trainee sacrificed himself for the others, he still wasn't the right person for the Kingsman, at least not according to Arthur.

The next person we see is the son of that slain Kingsman trainee, Eggsy. Eggsy's mom has hooked up with some local thug, Dean. (The group Dean's the leader of are not important enough to even call a gang.) Dean gets Eggsy to go to the store to buy him something, but instead Eggsy and his two friends head to the pub where they get into an altercation with some of Dean's mates and steal his car just to get to him. They get busted by the cops, but Eggsy takes the fall. While in prison, he looks at the back of the medal and calls Galahad, who gets him released and then offers him a new direction in life.

It is at this point that we start to run into serious spoilers. Well, not really. What happens next was released online as a special clip, but just in case you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it.

Not surprisingly, Kingsman: The Secret Service is a lot like Kick-Ass, only instead of having someone become a superhero, the main character becomes a secret agent. It has many of the same strengths, as well as many of the same problems. Ironically, the film deals with the problems of class in Britain with Galahad calling Arthur a snob for not thinking more working class people, like Eggsy, could become a Kingsman. However, the film is at its best when it is at its most posh, so to speak. There are a few times when the film goes a little too low class, for instance, when we first see Valentine's plan in action, or in the very end... no pun intended. This level of violence felt more out of place here than it did in Kick-Ass.

That said, the overall film is still worth checking out. The acting is great and most of the action scenes are great. I just wish the tone throughout the movie was closer to the tone we see early on.

The Extras

The only major extra is Kingsman: The Secret Service Revealed. (There are also three short galleries.) Fortunately, it is essentially a feature-length making-of documentary split into six parts, so while there's not a lot of quantity, the quality is strong.

The technical presentation is very good with a high level of details and vivid colors. I didn't notice any real problems with digital artifacts or compression issues. The audio is likewise excellent with clear dialogue and plenty of activity in the surround sound speakers. The 7.1 surround sound track is used for plenty of dynamic effects and the bass is always there to help.

The Blu-ray costs $20, which is $5 of 33% more than the DVD. This is very standard.

The Verdict

Kingsman: The Secret Service had the potential to be great, but there were a few issues that limited it to just being good. It is worth checking out and the feature-length making-of documentary on the DVD or Blu-ray lift it to an easy purchase.

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Filed under: Video Review, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, Samuel L. Jackson, Geoff Bell, Michael Caine, Jack Davenport, Colin Firth, Mark Hamill, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Mark Millar, Taron Egerton, Sofia Boutella, Samantha Janus