August 19, 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Movie Reviews

Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, Henry Cavill

Guy Ritchie’s stylish update of the 1960s TV series is the British filmmaker’s best film since Snatch. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer take over the roles of CIA operative Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin from Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. Solo and Kuryakin must team up with an East German defector (Alicia Vikander, hot off her breakthrough performance in Ex Machina) to find her father, a former Nazi nuclear scientist.

Though it’s a standard, early Bond boilerplate with cartoonish Euro-villains, Cavill and Hammer knock the period spycraft out of the park. A bespoke ladies’ man, Cavill nails the suave, Roger Moore-ish prep-school boy living out the childhood dream of being a secret agent, while the giant Hammer quietly rages with a respectable, Cold War Russian accent. Vikander plays well and holds her own with the boys, including latecomer Hugh Grant as Waverly. The trio has a fun chemistry that portends an entertaining sequel. 

Ritchie elegantly yada-yadas some of the more rote gunplay, focusing on a couple of fun car and boat chases. He would have been an inspired choice had the Bond producers chosen to reboot the series in the mod ‘60s. After the exciting and amusing Mission: ImpossibleRogue Nation and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., this Bond fan longs for 007 to get in touch with his inner Connery.