“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” not only shares the spy genre with “Mission: Impossible 5,” it once had the same leading man. But Tom Cruise dropped out of the Warner Bros. picture two years ago, and before that George Clooney was attached with Steven Soderbergh.
The stunning cast of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Written by Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram. Perhaps his voice reminded me a bit of Johnny Depp in Mortdecai, and it created a “guilt by association” thing going on in my mind. Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo was the dashing, dim haired, sharp looking womanizer, while David McCallum’s Illya Kuryakin, dark turtlenecked and his light hair worn long, Beatles-style, was the all the more internal, hard to-achieve female heartthrob.
The one performer who does something with the material and leaves a vivid impression not because of his dialogue but in spite of it is Hammer as Kuryakin.
“We originate from different sides of the Cold War initially, and we’re forced together because circumstance requires it to fight world terrorism”, Cavill said as he and Hammer waited in between setups. She’s a mechanic from East Germany, and her dad worked as a scientist for Hitler. Hammer’s a big man, but he’s hardly enormous; if the filmmakers mean to suggest he has been genetically altered for super-strength, they don’t make that clear, and they don’t use this power after paying homage to it. There’s just one problem: I still don’t know why the movie exists.
In many ways it feels as if Ritchie has taken his successful formula of the Sherlock Holmes movies and applied it in this new context – there is no room for ambiguity or doubt, actions and motivations are explained with logical progression as the story steadily unfolds. “The ’60s is when music started becoming very exciting”, he says of the mix of sultry Italian numbers and smash pop hits that amp up the film’s energy. Spies need to beat each other up, chase each other in cars, and dodge bullets while risking their lives to stop him. “But it depends on whether they want me to do it, and there’s a time factor”. Certainly, it’s smart and lots of fun.
After their governments agree on a collaboration, the pair must team up to ensure the protection of Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), whose own family leads to a unsafe nuclear plot involving powerful and intelligent Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki).
It gets 2 ½ stars out of 5.