Based on the 1964 television series created by Sam Rolfe, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is your typical, standard spy film. Set in the early 1960’s in the middle of the Cold War, the film centres around opposing spies, CIA agent Napolean Solo, and KGB Agent IIlya Kuryakin. The two are forced to pair up when an international criminal organization, led by femme fatale Victoria Vinciguerra, try to damage the world through the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Using the daughter of a captured nuclear scientist, they race against time to save the world from nuclear catastrophe.
So, like I said, it’s your standard spy film.
Despite the standard plot however, it is a fun film to watch. I went in to this film with low expectations. The trailer did not make the film seem appealing to me, but since it was a Guy Ritchie film, I figured I would give it a go, since his films are almost always entertaining in some fashion. The film was pretty much what I was expecting. It has everything you want in an action movie. Car chases, explosions, sexy women, and hilarity. It was a little better than I was expecting, mostly because, like all other Guy Ritchie films, my favourite moments were with the interactions between the characters.
CIA Agent Napolean Solo, played by the current Superman Henry Cavill, is a former thief, who likes expensive clothes and food, and is your classic calm and charismatic womanizer, who reminds me a little of James Bond.
KGB Agent IIlya Kuryakin, played by Lone Ranger Armie Hammer, has a troubled past and severe anger issues, who lacks subtlety and finesse, and prefers to shoot first and ask questions later.
Put these two in a room together and of course there are going to be problems, Odd Couple style. But with brawling. And guns.
The interactions between these two are what make the film better. Without their little cat fights, this film would be a complete write off. They act to distract us from a fickle plot line and a pretty backdrop.
The style of the film is, in my opinion, the nicest of Richie’s films. The scenery is stunning, and the split screen effects and use of seeing through mirrors is put to good use. Unlike many films of today that are set in the 60’s, I didn’t feel like is was all faked. The props, wardrobe and music all seemed perfectly placed, and the music wasn’t the common pop hits you hear in every film.
What I found missing the most was the mania. In almost every Ritchie film, there is mania, in the plot and most notably, in the characters. Usually they all seem one step away from a fitful meltdown, and this always make the characters seem real, as if these are people we know. That however seemed to be missing here. I was waiting for it to happen and it never did. It was often built up that Agent Kuryakin would explode and kill someone, but when he did it was off screen, and all we were left with were shots of his shaking hands as he calmed down. If we were able to see him beat the crap out of someone, then his so called craziness would seemed justified in the story, but since we didn’t, it left everything seeming a bit bland and bleak.
Despite the standard plot line, I did enjoy the film. It’s no Snatch or Rock’n’Rolla, but it was a little better than I was expecting, and I often found myself laughing at the antics of the agents. This is the kind of movie you go and see when you don’t want to be confused with an elaborate plot. You just want to see something that is entertaining and lets you escape from reality for a few hours.
I give this film a 3.5 out of 5. 🙂