KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Review by Gordon Justesen
Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Features: See Review
Length: 129 Minutes
Release Date: June 9, 2015
“Manners maketh man.”
The graphic novels of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons have been spawning some truly awesome movies, each with a level of high octane action that damn near set the bar high for other action movies to measure up to. Such was the case with both Wanted and Kick-Ass, but the absolute best movie adaptation of Millar’s work to date has arrived in the form of Kingsman: The Secret Service. It can best be described as a James Bond-type origin story, only slightly more hyperviolent.
And who better to bring this sort of brilliant bloody mayhem to the screen than director Matthew Vaughn, whose been doing the comic movie genre very well in the wake of Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Vaughn and his frequent screenwriter collaborator, Jane Goldman, have whipped up one of the absolute best blends of comedy and action to grace the screen in the past decade. The world they’ve created here is also tremendous, with winning characters to match that could lead to a terrific series of movies...and judging from this movie’s well deserved box office success, that’s what exactly looks to be in store!
The story centers around a young British lad named Eggsy (Taron Egerton), who has the best of intentions but is on the verge of entering a life of crime if he isn’t careful. After a car-jacking stunt, Eggsy lands in jail only to be bailed out almost immediately by a dapper dressed man by the name of Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Turns out Harry is part of a secret spy organization, which Eggsy’s dad was also a part of and saved Harry’s life long ago, which is why he clearly has an interest in the young lad.
The organization is known as Kingsman, where in which a tailor suit store serves as the front. The agents dress in tailor made suits and obtain code names direct from King Arthur’s knights. Harry’s is Galahad, and the remaining agents include Merlin (Mark Strong) and the veteran head of Kingsman, Arthur (Michael Caine). Eggsy accepts the opportunity to do something positive with his life and is placed with other young Kingsman hopefuls at a training facility in the English country.
Meanwhile, a devious plot is being hatched by computer billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, in full Russell Simmons mode). It’s a tricky plot involving a new sim card he’s developed, promising free internet to customers all the time. What the sim card is really designed for is to send a signal to each user and causing them to go into a violent rage and kill every other person in sight. It’s all part of Valentine’s desire to control the population, which he sees as a virus destroying the planet.
This results in what will be forever known as one of the most insane sequences of hyper-violence in movie history. Valentine tests his sim card on a church hate group in Kentucky, which Harry gets word of and plants himself amongst the group. The signal is sent, Skynard’s “Free Bird” slowly comes up on the soundtrack, and Harry himself launches into a berserk attack mode, wiping out every single one in the church with his gun and various other means of destruction. (Vaughn’s camera goes insane too during this action bit done nearly in an unbroken take, resulting in some seriously stunning filmmaking.)
The movie concludes with Eggsy, having undergone some intense training exercises, infiltrating a party Valentine is throwing where he plans to launch the sim card signal worldwide. Vaughn lets the action sparks fly continuously in some truly mind-blowing ways, and once you see the movie you’ll understand why I described it as such. Eggsy has a most memorable climatic face off with Valentine’s assistant, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), who comes equipped with prosthetic blades for legs.
Between this and the even bigger jaw dropper that is Mad Max: Fury Road, it’s great to see harder edged, R rated, terrifically made, plot driven action bonanzas making their way back into mainstream cinema. Kingsman: The Secret Service is a brilliantly rousing, insane and often hilarious two hour plus ride of a movie that you’ll want to experience again and again!
Fox’s Blu-ray release is nothing short of visually stunning as far as the video quality is concerned. This is already got my vote for one of the best looking releases of this year. Colors are phenomenal right from the opening frame, and are frequent throughout the movie. Image detail is absolutely amazing as well. Matthew Vaughn’s films have always gotten a grand treatment on Blu-ray, but this is by far the most stunning one to date!
Having seen the movie in theaters, I knew I was in for a treat once I noticed that a 7.1 DTS mix was included. First off, what more can be said about a movie that opens with a smashing use of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing”? And the phenomenal sound quality doesn’t let up for a bit, and is balanced out well with dialogue delivery and music playback. Also in the running for one of the best sounding discs of this year! Just how an action movie of this type should be handled in this format!
Included on this Blu-ray is a terrific, 90 minute documentary titled “Kingsman: The Secret Service Revealed”, which covers areas from adapting the graphic novel to the characters to filming the big scale action bits. Also included are three image galleries: Behind the Scenes, Sets and Props, and a Theatrical Trailer.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was a terrific graphic novel, and now it is a most fantastic action movie extravaganza. It’s James Bond with an added dose of crazy, making it a one of a kind release in the spy genre. And the Blu-ray release from Fox is a pure must have!