Thursday, August 27, 2015

Movie Review #300: "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (2015)

Movie"The Man From U.N.C.L.E."
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Guy Ritchie
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Image Source
During the height of the cold war American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is paired with Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) for a special mission. They must use an East German mechanic named Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) for and undercover mission in Italy to flush out her missing nuclear scientists father who they believe is building a nuclear weapon for a Nazi terrorist group. 

"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." is a film adaptation of the classic TV series with the same name. Guy Ritchie brings his signature style to the spy genre in this big screen adaptation. Henry Cavill plays Napoleon Solo, a former criminal turned CIA agent. Despite his criminal past, Solo has risen to be one of the top spies working for the CIA. Illyan Kuryakin, played by Armie Hammer, is his Russian counterpart and a man with a bit of his own troubled past. Gaby Tiller, played by Alicia Vikander, is an auto mechanic living in East Germany. Her estranged biological father is a nuclear scientist who both countries believe to be working with a Nazi terrorist group trying to develop their own atomic bomb. They are all thrust together in an reluctant group where they are forced to work together to bring down these Nazi terrorists. There's a lot going on, but isn't this description alone enough to excite even the most dull person!?

This film is a throwback to the old spy films and TV shows with tons of bright visual displays of color, timely outfits, sideswipes and retro cuts in the camera work, vintage language, excellent old school music, and hefty dose of style. It really captures the look and feel of the 60's with the appropriate cars, countries, and overall atmosphere. We never watched "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." TV show, so we can't say how faithful or unfaithful it is to its source material, though in the end, it doesn't really matter and doesn't necessarily have to be faithful since it's Ritchie's interpretation of the show. However accurate or inaccurate it might be, we thoroughly enjoyed it all the same. This is a fun movie and captures the spirit of the classic spy genre with a little tongue-in-cheek feel without ever making fun of it. We really like the characters and actors in this film, which is surprising since we have not always been the biggest fans of some of the people in this film. Henry Cavill is extremely great as Napoleon Solo and puts on a pretty good American accent with a bit of a high-class secret agent twang in his voice. He walks a fine line between suave, stiff, and sexy. Armie Hammer, who has had a nice bounce back after his failure in "The Lone Ranger," does a decent enough stereotypical Russian spy accent and puts on a solid performance. He and Cavill have wonderfully fun and funny between one another as they are forced to work together as comrades, but not exactly as friends. Alicia Vikander is quickly making a name for herself as this is only the second (that we've seen) of many projects she has coming out this year, "Ex Machina" being the first. She is a solid actress and has been quite good as Gaby Teller, a woman with lots of secrets, in this film. There is a lot of good action throughout "The Man from U.N.C.L.E," and it has a decent enough story that is able to pull you in as an audience. In many ways, it is an origin story, and has definite potential in and for the future since it is left open for a sequel, which is something we immediately expressed an interest in as the credits were rolling. Guy Ritchie was able to successfully transfer his stunning and unique visual style into this film, and while it might not be as slick as "Snatch" or "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" in the way of story, content, or flashiness, it's still a good time and he hasn't seem to have lost his touch. If you are looking for one last action flick to see over Memorial Day weekend, this one would be your best bet. 

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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