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KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (Digital Download Review)

Review by Stefan Blitz

The spy movie genre of late has gotten pretty grim.

From the gritted teeth of Jason Bourne or 007 to the polite office
politics of George Smiley to revenge obsessed Bryan Mills, being a
secret agent doesn’t seem like much fun.

Unless, you’re a Kingsman.

In one of cinema’s most unique partnerships, comic book writer Mark
Millar has teamed up with director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane
Goldman for the second time to adapt one of Millar’s properties to the
silver screen.

The first collaboration, 2010’s Kick-Ass, pondered what being a
superhero would be like for the average teenager in the real world.  Now
the attention has turned to gentlemen spy.

Scottish Millar is a bit of a P.T. Barnum of comics, playing the press with exaggerated hints of news.  But there’s a catch.

He delivers.

So far several films based on his material have been released including Wanted, Kick-Ass 1 & 2, and Kingsman with upcoming projects including Nemesis to be directed by Joe Carnahan, Supercrooks with director Nacho Vigalando and Superior, potentially again with Vaughn.  His work on the Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four titles both heavily influenced the film versions and the rumor is that the third Wolverine film will be based on his Old Man Logan storyline.

What makes the partnership with Goldman and Vaughn interesting however
is that they are often active on the screenplay while the comic is still
being written, allowing for a unique collaboration and sometime
cross-influence.

As for an adaptation, there are some major changes in characters and
motivation, but the all of the big strokes are there in the comic. 
Rereading the comic after seeing the film, I honestly think that that
Vaughn and Goldman knocked it out of the park.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is terrifically entertaining.

Vaughn has made the most fun James Bond film that we’ve seen since the
early Roger Moore films; including all of the key elements, gorgeous
women, gadgets, a maniacal villain poised to take over the world,
terrific humor, an over the top sidekick for the bad guy and huge action
set pieces.

Taron Egerton plays Eggsy, the latest potential recruit for The
Kingsman, a secret spy society led by Michael Caine.  He’s nominated by
Colin Firth, who feels responsible for the death of Egsy’s father, a
Kingsman killed on his watch over a decade prior.  Samuel L. Jackson is
the lisping Tommy Hilfiger styled Richmond Valentine, a tech billionaire
with plans to reimagine the world with the use of a deadly phone app.

The cast overall is phenomenal.  Firth takes on the role of action hero
with poise, grace and charm and Egerton is charming and holds his own
against the ensemble of established stars (a group he’s likely to join
very soon).

The script is crisp and keeps the action moving quickly and Vaughn impeccably balances the absurd with humor and tension.  Kingsman is a very violent, very dark humored homage to the spy genre. 

This also marked the first time that I’ve reviewed an actual digital download.  I’m old school, preferring physical media (at least for films, music to me at least, is different) and if you’re into getting your media via the cloud, Kingsman does not disappoint.

The quality is fantastic.  Both picture and sound are crisp, vibrant and simply put stunning.  The download is available on several formats; I took a look at the film via iTunes, which also provided a number of bonus features including various audio and subtitle options, scene selection, trailer, gallery and six featurettes.  Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

This leads to my only complaint about the format.  It took six hours to download.  It’s also a big file and unless your entertainment library is cloud based, it’s a chunk (the file is actually larger than my first iMac’s entire hard drive.)

That being said, the movie’s tremendous fun and the perfect watch this Memorial Day weekend.

Bring on the sequel!

Kingsman: The Secret Service is now available on Digital HD and Blu-ray and DVD June 9th!
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. If you are familiar with the spy film genre, this is a happy blend of spoof with homage, but it also has a dandy, cynical plot to boot. Jackson's lisp is a hoot, particularly when he says he has trouble understanding how the Brits (Firth) speak. And, there is complete and utter violence orchestrated with hardly a drop of blood. The blend of a serious subplot is perfectly integrated with the major outlandish plot as well. You will laugh out loud if you get the in jokes. Otherwise, you may just be baffled at why others are laughing at what you missed. I laughed, I cried–no, I just laughed.

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