THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
With Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Jared Harris, Christian Berkel
Written by Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman, David C. Wilson (based on the TV series by Sam Rolfe)
Directed by Guy Ritchie
I remember this '60s TV series (with Robert Vaughn) on which this movie is based (from seeing it as a kid, broadcast here in South Africa in the 1970s). And while I remember enjoying it (just like Mission Impossible and The New Avengers), I can't recall any specific episode or incidents, besides Bond-style espionage style antics.
Set in the early-1960s at the height of the Cold War between east and west, a former thief fulfilling his sentence by working for the CIA, ends up (reluctantly) teaming with a KGB agent to thwart a secret organization's psychotic post-Nazi nuclear missile theft plan. After helping a young woman escape over the Berlin wall to reach her father kidnapped to arm these bombs for the nefarious group, the trio jet sets it to exotic locales where the world's fate is in their hands.
While working together, their allegianances lie with their respective countries, with tension a constant factor.
The result is a stylish, cool, era-specific (& accurate) spy-action-thriller, with a good dose of humour and a bit of sexy fused wonderfully in this entertaining new film from director Guy Ritchie. I enjoy (most) of his movies (his first two my favourites), and where he reinvented the legendary Sherlock Holmes character with his movie versions, here he reboots a TV show almost all of the viewing demographic would never have heard of.
This was a risky move, though - Where people like me relish in this 1960s throwback with antiquated technology (and no smartphones or high tech gimmicks), most younger viewers would be none the wiser, and may not take to the retro feel (albeit shot and approached in a very modern way). To me this has a great vibe reminiscent of the old James Bond movies, something that franchise has lost in becoming high concept big budget action movies in stead of an action filled spy thriller (with gadgets and promiscuity).
Ritchie grew up with these TV shows and the old Bond movies, and in many ways I'm sure this is a great thrill for him to recreate and revisit this era and style. I'm hoping enough people will check it out and ensure more in the series, and that it will get younger viewers interested in these older movies and shows, and not have the opposite effect.
PS. The acronym for U.N.C.L.E. is the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (a bit less clunky that the old Bond villains SPECTRE: Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion - which also happens to be the new Bond film title).
5 / B
- Paul Blom
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