A super-secret organization recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a dire global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. Ralph Potts reviews this entertaining and stylish action film from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment that is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
20th Century Fox - 2014
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, Spanish
Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Sofia Boutella
Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson
Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
March 1, 2016
"Are you ready to become a true gentlemen?"
Based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, [i]Kingsman: The Secret Service follows the recruitment and training of a potential secret agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, into a secret spy organization known only as The Kingsman. While Eggsy tackles the trials of membership along with a group of other young potentials a wealthy eco-terrorist named Richmond Valentine has devised an evil scheme to deal with the world’s climate changes and overpopulation “problem” all at the same time. It will be up to the Kingsman and their latest addition to thwart Valentine’s plans before it’s too late.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
is a fusion of satire, bloodletting action and cleverly integrated hokum that makes for a stylish, genre bending and mindlessly entertaining film. Director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn is no stranger to refreshingly offbeat takes that push the envelope just far enough to evoke our imaginative playfulness without over extension. The script isn’t all that deep but includes plenty of playful references, purposeful throwbacks and a passable cache of characters that work well within the intended thematic tone.
The action and choreography is lots of fun to watch and comes coupled with what some may find to be an over-abundance of gratuitous violence. I didn’t have any problem with it. The production elements and stunt work are simply excellent which by themselves make for an enriching diversion. At just over two hours the film runs just a hair too long trying to sustain the story but I really didn’t care as I was having a pretty good time. Kingsman: The Secret Service
isn’t destined or classic status but it’s a solid popcorn flick that should scratch the itch of genre fans on movie night.
The rating is for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
UHD Presentation: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element):
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):
Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:
Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
- Visual Impact:
For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of High Dynamic Range or HDR (HDR10 is the system currently being utilized for Ultra HD home video releases, and in conjunction with that, display manufacturers) as it stands currently, doesn't appear to have exacting standards and no calibration tools to allow for a foundational threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being. With that in mind, my approach to reviewing Ultra HD Blu-ray will be to assess the elements observed which I find to generate the most significant visual impact when compared to standard high definition Blu-ray.
For me, HDR, with its broader spectrum of colors and emboldened highlights in the areas of contrast and brightness, is where the potential lies in the format. The increase in resolution, while an important component, isn't going to be definitive in every case, especially given that currently many of the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are derived from 2K Digital Intermediates that are up-converted to 4K. This shouldn't be strictly construed to mean that such up-converted images won't look noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts. Conversely, a release finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate isn't a guarantee that it will be heads and shoulders above the rest. So, what can you expect to hear from me when discussing what I observed from Ultra HD Blu-ray? I will hit upon the things that struck me, the impact, or lack of impact, of HDR and the improvement, if any, in resolution when compared to 1080p Blu-ray. The outcome will be a rating as seen above.
Front projection for home theater is just stepping through the door with respect to the reproduction of HDR. My goal is to present readers with a reasonable expectation of what they can expect when viewing the same content that I have. There may be variables that differ slightly however I believe that in general the outcome will be close. As we are exposed to more and more content and calibration tools come onboard we will have better perspectives from which to gauge. Thanks for reading!
Kingsman: The Secret Service comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 Mbps.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was surprisingly entertaining and was among my favorite "guilty pleasures" from last year. As a bonus it looked and sounded great in 1080p, leaving me with high hopes for its presentation on UHD Blu-ray. Its presentation in Ultra HD is rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD either sourced from 2K or 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far. I frequently use sequences from Kingsman (on Blu-ray) for demo purposes and am familiar with it. Watching it in Ultra HD was a rewarding experience.
With discernible increase in detail and the emboldened highlights the image appears noticeably vibrant when compared to the 1080p version. The sequence at the beginning where Lancelot enters the villa, the detail in the clothing, textured wooden/stone surfaces and physical features (Mark Hamill's scruffy beard and weathered face!) of the cast members are pristinely rendered. The film has a variety of sequences that take advantage of high dynamic range. Beginning with the nighttime scene where Eggsy and company pilfer the car outside of the pub, the contrast between the shadow details, bright headlights and glowing streetlamps gives the image added depth. Colors look terrific. The sequence in Valentine's lair where he and Gazelle discuss their plan while he sits at the large console (in front of the huge window overlooking the ballroom below) has rich, vivid color set against inky blacks that pop off of the screen.
Brightly lit scenes are just as pleasing, revealing detail and visible gradations that draw out backgrounds. The scene where Roxy begins her ascent into space or where Eggsy and Merlin fly over the snow covered mountains before entering Valentine's lair are great examples. As I watched I found myself enjoying the film, going from one scene to the next, seemingly experiencing it all over again. I can't say the difference between viewing it in high definition and Ultra HD was night and day but there is no denying that Ultra HD improved upon the things that made the high definition rendering so good. With that in mind I am eager to see what Ultra HD releases rendered from native 4K sourced material have in store.
The 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack presented here is an impressive one that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. This is an engaging and dynamically energized surround mix that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, and frequent use of rhythmically charged bass which bass lovers are sure to appreciate. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies within the soundstage. This is a complex sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each is clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement.
This is a superlative audio/video presentation that elevated the enjoyment of this action film. Those who like to drive their systems at reference levels will appreciate its transient low frequency peaks, extended dynamic range and high level clarity. I enjoyed the high definition video presentation which features crisp resolution, deep blacks and exquisite rendering that look terrific on my large screen. Kudos to 20th Century Fox on a job well done.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
Kingsman: The Secret Service comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This is a sparkling video presentation that delivers exquisite high level detail and rewarding color reproduction that looks gorgeous in high definition. The video has incredible depth and dimension that is rarely limited by the camera’s perspective. The level of resolution present produces imagery that in many cases has a near infinite visual acuity that draws out the finest details in close ups while enhancing the delineation and textural nuance within objects and backgrounds. Wide angle shots of the geographic locations reveal the varied and rough texture in the surfaces made of stone and wood while the beautifully framed shots of the landscapes look terrific.
Flesh tones exhibit vibrant texture with natural color and slightly warm complexions. Blacks exhibit exemplary dynamic range and appear deep and rich without compromise. Shadow detail is impressive and readily conveys strong dimensionality during the scenes shot in darkened areas and uneven light. Contrast and brightness work in tandem so that dark scenes exhibit good dynamic range and bright scenes are vivid without loss of detail. I saw no signs of video related anomalies or extraneous noise. This is an impressive high definition presentation that looked marvelous on my big screen.
- Disc 1: Kingsman: The Secret Service UHD Blu-ray
Disc 2: Kingsman: The Secret Service Blu-ray (plus bonus features)
- (HD) Panel to screen: The education of a 21st century super-spy – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Heroes and rogues – 23 minute featurette
- (HD) Style all his own – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Tools of the trade – 15 minute featurette
- (HD) Breathtakingly brutal – 17 minute featurette
- (HD) Culture clash: The comic book origins of The Secret Service -15 minute featurette
- (HD) Photo Galleries
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Digital HD Copy
Based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, Kingsman: The Secret Service
is a fusion of satire, bloodletting action and cleverly integrated hokum that makes for a stylish, genre bending and mindlessly entertaining film. It comes to Blu-ray in this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray pack from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring solid Ultra High Definition video, engaging lossless surround sound, and a fair supplemental offering that looks behind the scenes at the making of the film. As a fan I am very pleased to own this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Fans of Kingsman: The Secret Service
that are set up for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray may want to consider adding this to their collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package