The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is another 1960s TV show turned into a movie that — if successful at the box office — is going to undoubtedly become a series of movies. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. Rivals at first, the two are assigned to stop an organization building an atomic bomb. They have to work with the daughter of the bomb’s designer. She’s played by Ex Machina’s Alicia Vikander.
Hugh Grant completes the main cast as Waverly, the head of U.N.C.L.E.
Sounds like a been-there-done-that yawner. No. Make that a double-yawner. Except in this case, there is a positive. It’s Guy Ritchie. Most know him best for doing the two Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. Those movies aren’t that good.
His best and most impressive work is years earlier with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.
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The retro concept of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a great idea but is poorly executed. Ritchie — who co-wrote — never quite gets you there. It could have been any time period.
A minor flaw.
Ritchie’s movie-making style fits his four stars perfectly. Cavill ( Man of Steel) and Hammer ( The Lone Ranger) are handsome hunks whose only believability as actors comes when cast as cartoonish characters. The same goes for Grant.
Vikander — however — is a serious actress with serious skills. She’s wasted but has fun.
Ritchie’s sense of humor also fits the theme. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is packed with laughs. It’s entertaining, yes. And while easy to recommend, Ritchie’s movie also doesn’t do is go anywhere interesting, or anywhere these movies haven’t gone before.