I am a sucker for a good trailer and although The Man from U.N.C.L.E had a pretty dam good one I was surprised by how excited I was to see the film. As per the norm I know absolutely nothing about the television show the film is based upon and I didn’t bother to do any prior research before heading to the cinema. A life of ignorance can be blissful.
PLOT: CIA agent Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya (Armie Hammer) are forced to put their Cold War differences aside in order to retrieve a nuclear bomb. Once Solo and Illya realise that they can work together effectively a plan is put in motion for the inevitable sequel. END PLOT
The Man from U.N.C.L.E is pretty standard fare which offers nothing new to the spy caper genre and is hampered by the fact that this film is Solo and Illyas’ first mission. We have to suffer through the obligatory trust issues before the agents finally click and work together to complete the task at hand. It’s all a bit predicable and the events unfolded with the arrogant polish of a highly intricate Stella Artois advert.
I am a fan of Guy Ritchie and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels outranks the Monty Python films as being the most quoted film in our house. When he is on form Guy Ritchie is as good as they come but the script of The Man from U.N.C.L.E felt flat. The only time the film came to life was when Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer were on screen together but unfortunately this was not as often as I would have expected.
Henry Cavill is clearly having a blast and does a better Matt Bomer impression than Matt Bomer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cavill but it turns out that he is very dashing and is more interesting as Agent Solo than he will ever be as Clark Kent. Armie Hammer has consistently embarrassed me by appearing in films such as Mirror Mirror and The Lone Ranger but he also fared well in U.N.C.L.E. Hammer was short changed in screen time compared to Cavill but he held his own when given the opportunity. Alicia Vikander is continuing her strong run and the summer exposure won’t do her career any harm at all. The likeable cast and a few fun scenes with Hugh Grant saved the film.
The action was mostly fine although it was in no way spectacular. The biggest set piece was hampered by the overuse of split screens and although this could have been a throwback to the tv show it ruined the moment.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E set the scene nicely for future adventures and I can see why it would make a great tv show but I would be concerned that it hasn’t done enough to warrant the sequel it is clearly courting. It is an enjoyable romp due to the enthusiastic cast and it is worth a look in the cinema but I expected more. The Man from U.N.C.L.E gets 6/10. If we could persuade the cast to reboot the tv show I wouldn’t be unhappy.