THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

by Alan Yudman

I recently watched an episode of the 1960’s TV spy show THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. I had fond memories. I think that’s why memory is unreliable. The TV show was kinda campy and kinda awful. So when I went to the theater to see the big screen adaptation, I was unencumbered by much nostalgia. I was just looking for a good, fun movie. For the most part, that is exactly what I got. I will warn you, do not go into this expecting to be dropped into the middle of the TV show. This is an origin story. How U.N.C.L.E. came to be. Henry Cavill (an Aussie) is the American CIA operative Napoleon Solo. Armie Hammer (an American) is Illya Kuryakin a KGB agent. At the start they are both trying to get to Alicia Vikander (a Swede) who is the daughter of a German rocket scientist who helped America build the nuclear bomb. He’s apparently gone rogue or been kidnapped and is helping some diabolical spy organization build a nuke. It turns out the threat is so great that Solo and Kuryakin must work with the girl to find her father and stop the “end of the world”. The chemistry between Cavill and Hammer is great. Hammer is much better in this than he was as The Lone Ranger (ugh). Cavill is all American bluster and dashing confidence, helped out by an array of stunning 3-piece suits. Vikander, who shined in EX MACHINA is very good here also. Guy Ritchie’s manic direction and gift for great set pieces is a match made in action thriller heaven. There are some story telling devices that may have you scratching your head at times, but in the end it is very satisfying and sets up well for a sequel. Here’s hoping a disappointing opening weekend at the box office doesn’t scare studio executives off. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is well worth another go ‘round.

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