Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Release Date: August 14th, 2015
Rated PG-13 for partial nudity (side boob), violence, thematic elements and suggestive content)
Another reboot/remake/reimagining! Do we really need another one of those? The Man from U.N.C.L.E is based on the 1960s TV series of the same name. Before I get into this review, I will admit that I am not too knowledgable about the spy movie genre. Therefore, I will review this film based on substance, casting, plot, etc… the usual and try my best not to critique based on a genre I know almost nothing about.
Our hero, Napoleon Solo (Cavill), is an ex-con turned CIA agent during the beginning of the Cold War. He is unexpectedly paired with KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) with the mission of finding a missing rocket scientist and getting their hands on his research before villainous socialite Victoria Vinciaguerra (Debicki) uses for nuclear warhead production. The scientist’s daughter, Gaby (Vikander), joins them as it is believed that she is the key to locating him. Naturally, Solo and Kuryakin can’t stand each other and are forced to put aside their differences if they are to avert a potential disaster.
What struck me the most about this film were the richly shot locations, the fashion, and the dazzlingly good looks of the leads, the women in particular. Hollywood tends to under-use female characters in movies; this is certainly not the case here. Victoria’s character is a combination of cool, patrician beauty and lethal genius, while Gaby is stylish, smart and just a tad bit vulnerable. The soundtrack is also perfectly choreographed to each scene, adding to the 1960s atmosphere of the film. It’s both an aural and visual treat.
The plot, on the other hand, is muddled, paper thin, and somewhat cliche. (Is there any spy ever who wasn’t a good-looking, well dressed playboy?) But what this film lacks in substance it more than makes up for in style. It’s a smart mix of comedy and stylized action. My only complaint was not enough Hugh Grant. He got so little screen time and very little opportunity to really showcase the acting skills he is known for. Perhaps, in the rumored sequel, we’ll see more of him.