Hollywood continues its run of remakes of old television shows and reboots of old films. There are some classics that just shouldn’t be remade, a very few that are actually better than the originals, and some that are a new take entirely and are worthy of a look. Although I can get a little weary of all the remakes, Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. looked like a good time from the very first trailer.
It stars Henry Cavill (Superman) as American CIA agent Napoleon Solo, Armie Hammer as Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin, and Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller. In the television series Solo was played by Robert Vaughn, and Kuryakin was played by David McCallum, whom most people now know as Ducky on NCIS.
Hugh Grant also makes an appearance as Waverly, Solo’s boss.
While Guy Ritchie may best be known to some as Madonna’s ex-husband, he has made some of the funniest and best movies out there, including Snatch with Brad Pitt and Jason Statham, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (also with Statham), and the two Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films. He was the perfect director for U.N.C.L.E., putting humor together with a great cast, some excellent action scenes, and 1960’s cool.
Yes, the film maintains the ’60s era style of the television series, along with Cold War-era animus between the CIA and the KGB. The plot is thin, with a beautiful villainess named Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki), a nuclear bomb, and hints of what became in the show a shadowy criminal organization called THRUSH. But the plot is not the draw here, and frankly I’m glad it’s not a convoluted one, because it’s really secondary anyway to the humor and just the sheer enjoyment of watching the interaction between the main characters, as well as the clothes and cars of the era.
Here’s the 5-minute trailer shown at Comic-Con:
The action scenes are great, the chemistry between the three leads is perfection, and overall it was definitely worth at least a matinee ticket, especially if you’re a fan of the original TV show. Brit Cavill does a credible American accent (as he did in Man of Steel), and Hammer pulls off a Russian accent as well. Together they’re a team I could definitely watch again in a sequel that would hopefully not have to spend so much time on character introductions.
Outside of the backstorying, which went on a little long, I have only a couple of gripes. One is that the action scenes are done so well that you wish there were more of them. The other one is an odd one, but during one chase scene I thought the music was off. Not sure why really, but it just didn’t seem to fit and was a bit jarring.
Spoiler alert for this paragraph: This might not come as much of a surprise, but some people are funny about anything that could resemble a spoiler, so I thought I’d warn you. At the end of the film there’s a scene where Waverly tells Solo, Kuryakin and Gaby they’re going to be staying together as a team for a while longer, and gives them their next assignment. So it appears there’s already a sequel in mind (complete with location, so there must be a general notion of what the plot would be).
Tom Cruise’s 99th Mission Impossible flick may take some of the wind out of its sails at the box office, but hopefully U.N.C.L.E. will generate enough bucks to warrant a sequel.
Overall, a fun time, especially if you’re a fan of the ’60s television series, Henry Cavill, and/or Armie Hammer. If you’re not already, this flick may make you a fan. (The old series can still be seen on MeTV or you could always go to Amazon and pick up a DVD.)
BTW, speaking of Jason Statham and remakes, one of the previews was for the reboot of The Transporter, this time starring Ed Skrein.
#TheManFromUNCLE #HenryCavill #ArmieHammer