The Man From U.N.C.L.E has to be the most smarmy, up itself and proudly obnoxious film of 2015, I’ve never been a Guy Ritchie fan but my parents took me to see this, and the trailers did look great so I was hoping the film would be great too. All in all, it’s a serviceable yet basic run of the mill action film that hops across the globe with admirable style, but it has so many problems along the way it’s hard to be fully invested in.
The story is thin, involving a nuclear missile threat, multiple double crosses and people all doing their best to take control of the weapon. There’s little backstory and it’s only for characters that are frankly boring, it’s wasted backstory. Henry Cavill, who I thought was superb as Superman, comes off as corny and it feels like he’s reading bullet points or making statements when delivering dialogue, meaning there’s no fluidity or variation in emotion. However, Armie Hammer is great, nailing the Russian accent perfectly. His presence and build fits his aggressive character brilliantly and he delivers the majority of laughs here. Alicia Vikander is unbelievably sexy, witty and so funny, I didn’t expect that after seeing her masterful turn in Ex Machina, but Vikander proves herself with range and the ability to play off other actors with banter and chemistry. Then there’s Elizabeth Debicki who looks and sounds like she stepped out from a 007 film, she is so good here! Her sharp and well spoken tongue and striking looks pull you in, I loved her character and I want to see more roles for her like this. Hugh Grant is wasted but when he’s onscreen it’s too British and snotty.
The opening escape sequence is actually solid, it’s stylish in execution, taking on a calm and tight knit approach instead of guns blazing. It’s everything else after that falters. The editing choices are horrific. The harbour chase is one of the big set pieces in the film that takes place after a good forty minutes of rather dry dialogue driven scenes, the payoff isn’t worth it as what starts out as a loud exciting escape quickly descends into a silly bore in which Henry Cavill’s character Solo sits inside a lorry and decides to watch the action whilst eating cheese and drinking wine, set against some chilled jazz music, it is the artsiest load of fart ever and it comes across as so proud of itself that it can silence a chase scene and sit back and watch itself accompanied by some fine food.
As the film goes on, twists come and go with no impact and why Guy Ritchie and crew even bothered to shoot action sequences is beyond me when the editing process splits the screen into multiple viewpoints, silences the chaos and throws away any value in what could’ve been a terrific action sequence, why do what the Hulk film did back years ago only to fail again?
I wouldn’t recommend watching this film unless you’re desperate to go to the cinema or have been offered to go for free, it’s dry and tries to be stylish but wastes time in doing so. Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki and the stylish throwback look of the film are the lone bright spots.