Does anyone remember The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television show? If you’re lucky to remember you should run to the theater to see the movie. For those of you too young to remember watching the TV show, I extend my apologies. ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was originally a TV series from the mid-1960s developed by Sam Rolfe. U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, a secret international counter-espionage organization, aiming to maintain worldwide political and legal order. This series lasted for four years from 1964 to 68, becoming a cultural icon of sorts at that time with its audacious theme of US-Russian cooperation at the height of the Cold War. I urge you to see how they performed espionage with style.
This reboot of U.N.C.L.E. retains the Cold War setting. American agent Napoleon Solo and Russian agent Illya Kuryakin are forced to work together to prevent the nefarious plans of glamorous but ruthless arms dealer Victoria Vinciguerra. They connect with Gaby Teller, the daughter of a kidnapped German nuclear scientist, as a means of getting closer on Victoria’s tail. But it would appear that Gaby also is not all she seemed to be … or is she? The cast is very satisfying to watch, starting with Henry Cavill. He carries the film as Napoleon Solo. With his elegant chiseled looks, Cavill credibly portrayed the cool, capable and suave spy Solo, even better then he portrayed Superman last year. He also succeeded in pulling off the smart-alecky personality of Solo, a man with a bristling sense of humor.
Armie Hammer is quite a handsome actor himself, but he could not really lift his career off the ground after his forgettable role in “The Lone Ranger.” Here in U.N.C.L.E., he was charismatic and charming in the bickering buddy as well as the action scenes. They played off each other without him being in Cavill’s shadow.
I’d never noticed Alicia Vikander until her role as the mysterious Gaby Teller. It’s just too bad that she didn’t get many slam bang action scenes while wearing all those wonderful outfits.
Elizabeth Debicki makes a very good impression as the main villain Victoria, with her towering beehive, striking haute couture and naked ambition. It was also great to see Hugh Grant again, playing British agent Waverley. I’m thinking that if this franchise is continued, we’ll see more of Grant since this character Waverly was the officer in charge of Solo and Kuryakin in the TV series.
U.N.C.L.E. was refreshingly different in the realm of spy films and out and out fun. The 60s-inspired production design, hair and costumes were so fab that the viewer can’t help but fall in love with the aesthetics of that period. The fashion, the accessories, the music … even the cars. Especially the cars! Attention was given to every detail to encourage you to escape into the movie universe they created.
A small side note: missing from this Guy Ritchie film was extensive foul language, nudity and blood shed found in nearly every movie these days. Yet the story wasn’t lacking because of this was omitted. This is the most entertaining, slick and stylish spy film in theatres this year!
What are you waiting for?