The other evening my wife and I caught the adventure comedy spy movie from director / co-writer Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”) recently released – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.
In 1963 former thief, now agent working for the CIA, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill – “Man Of Steel”, “Blood Creek”) is tasked with extracting the daughter of an alleged ex-Nazi scientist Udo Teller (Christian Berkel – “Anti-Social”, “Inglourious Basterds”) from East Berlin, from right under the noses of the KGB.
Having got the daughter, Gaby (Alicia Vikander – “Ex Machina”, “Seventh Son”), out Solo is then informed by his superiors that he must now work with Gaby and a KGB agent named Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer – “The Lone Ranger”, “The Social Network”) to track down Teller and prevent his employers using his knowledge to build a nuclear weapon.
The three head off to Rome, with Gaby and Kuryakin posing as an engaged couple, where they attend a racing event being hosted by Teller’s employers , Alexnader and Victoria Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani – “When In Rome”, “The International” and Elizabeth Debicki – “Macbeth”, “Everest”).
Naturally it’s not long before the Vinciguerras have their suspicions about Solo and Kuryakin and when Gaby reveals the pair’s true identities to Alexander and Solo falls into the hands of Victoria it looks like their fates may be sealed…
Hugh Grant (“Love Actually”, “Cloud Atlas”) pops up later in the film as British agent Alexander Waverly and ex-football legend David Beckham scores a minor role as a projectionist in an early scene.
Critical opinion seems to be split on the merits of this movie. For our part, we found it be great fun.
There are some great action sequences, with lots of humour thrown in to those scenes and to the dialogue. That’s not to say that it’s a spoof in the manner of “Get Smart”, more that it uses humour in a similar way to Roger Moore-era Bond movies – we saw parallels with animated TV series “Archer” too.
A good pairing, Cavill plays Solo in a calm and restrained manner and Hammer impresses as Kuryakin too. We did think that Debicki, whilst being a very cool customer, was rather too thin, but Vikander was bang-on as Gaby and Grant made the most of his time on-screen.
The locations looked good, the jazzy soundtrack fit the mood perfectly and the costume department did a fabulous job. Not as essential as Ritchie’s “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels” to be honest, but this is still a very entertaining film. The ending sets it up perfectly for a sequel too…