By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
From director, Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and producer John Davis (Behind Enemy Lines, I, Robot, Alien VS Predator) comes a film adaptation of the 1964 MGM spy-fi television series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which I’ve never seen before so I’m going to be judging it as a movie. And as a film, it’s very entertaining and it’s a well-balanced blend of action, drama, romance, comedy, gadgets, villains, and a sexy cast, pretty much everything you can expect out of a spy film.
The film has a very campy style that resembles a classic spy movie or TV show from the 60s, with its yellow subtitles and location font to a soundtrack of classic rock and classical music, a somewhat similar soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, but not quite as memorable or iconic.
Set in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, we find two unlikely spies joining forces to find a powerful disk that can give the person who owns it the power to rule the world. American spy, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill-Man of Steel) opposites Russian spy, Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer-The Social Network, The Lone Ranger) in a caper to retrieve the disk from a ruthless criminal organization lead by the seductive but dangerous Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki-The Great Gatsby) who plans to destabilize the fragile balance of power through nuclear warfare.
With the aid of British undercover agent, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander-Anna Karenina, A Royal Affair, Ex-Machina) and the head of the U.N.C.L.E. organization, Alexander Waverly (Hugh Grant-Mickey Blue Eyes, The Pirates! Band of Misfits) Napoleon and Illya must infiltrate Victoria’s organization, get information out of a German scientist who holds the key to accessing Victoria’s organization, and retrieve the disk before a powerful bomb goes off and plunging the world into war.
Overall, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a very ambitious project, adapting a show that was popular in the 60s for a mainstream audience is quite a challenge but Guy Ritchie pulls it off very well. The film has a unique 60s spy film style and it’s campy at times, but not as campy as a spy film like Austin Powers, and it certainly doesn’t take itself that seriously either.
It’s a perfect blend of action and humor; add in likable leads as the protagonists and strong character development, weapons espionage, and cool gadgets and vehicles, it’s quite an entertaining spy caper.
I can declare the year 2015 to be the year of spy films, the Colin Firth spy action film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, the Melissa McCarthy comedy, Spy, the latest Mission: Impossible movie, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, this movie, and the upcoming James Bond movie, Spectre coming out in November. I wouldn’t consider The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to be my favorite spy film of this year, I still think Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation was a little better, but for a fun summer action movie, the film is a thrilling, funny, and stylish spy flick that should satisfy the summer blockbuster audience and it’s a fine way to wrap up the summer of movies, unlike that mess known as Fantastic Four.