On a par with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Another week another TV show ‘reimagined’ for the big screen. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for this one to appear but from I understand it has been through a number of leading men including Tom Cruise before settling on Henry Cavill. Guy Ritchie is in the directors chair for the first time in four years having resurrected his career with the two Sherlock Holmes films. Cavill is CIA agent Solo, who we learn early on is in the debt of the agency for past crimes committed, working in East Berlin during the 1960’s. During an attempt to bring Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) over the Berlin Wall he has a coming together with a KGB agent, Illya (Armie Hammer), but makes it out in one piece. Much to his chagrin he has to team up with Illya to track down a group that is trying to spread nuclear weapons.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is set up as an odd couple spy action film with a good dose of humour and 1960’s styling tips. As such Ritchie was a good choice of director because he delivers the brief in what is in many ways an extension of Sherlock Holmes (2009). It looks great and has a really cool soundtrack – it reminded me of something like Ocean’s Eleven (2001) in terms of the vibe it puts across. Cavill gives the best performance as the ultra slick Solo getting to wear some of the best looking suits ever seen on a screen. Vikander is well Alicia Vikander and walks on water to the sound of angels singing. Just watch Ex Machina (2015) to see her true potential. Hammer is sadly limited by his stiff Russian character and doesn’t have a lot to play with but he does have presence – the dude’s taller than Henry Cavill and he was Superman. He must be ginormous.
As with the standard run-of-the-mill Hollywood summer blockbusters the bad guy (or gal in this case) is a weak point with a pretty flimsy motivation who is put in place just so the heroes have someone to beat. There is an ‘incident’ towards the end of the film that should have significant repercussions for one of the main characters but this is glossed over quickly as if the writers forgot about it, couldn’t be bothered to deal with it, or possibly a scene was cut to save a little time.
In this writers humble opinion this film is on a par with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It might not have the same stunts but its a lot more stylish and shares the same problems. My rating 3/5.