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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) Review

Updated on October 1, 2017

Director: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Henry Cavill (Napoleon Solo), Armie Hammer (Ilya Kuryakin), Alicia Vikander (Gabrielle Teller), Elizabeth Debicki (Victoria Vinciguerra), Jared Harris (Adrian Sanders), Hugh Grant (Alexander Waverly), Luca Calvani (Alexander Vinciguerra)

Rundown of the Plot

Based on the hit spy series, this film makes me wonder why Hollywood keeps letting Guy Ritchie adapt older stories. In the Sherlock Holmes movies, he was fortunate enough to have Robert Downey Jr. playing the titular role. However, in this and in the more recent King Arthur movie, he doesn’t have that benefit. This one, though, feels the least like a Ritchie film out of the three. Napoleon Solo’s criminal history is only mentioned through dialogue here (as opposed to be shown).

The movie is set up as a sort of prequel, explaining how Solo and Kuryakin came to be partners. As a result, it is set up as a cross between James Bond and Lethal Weapon--only not nearly as good. Much of the humor falls flat, especially on repeat viewing. The action fares a bit better with the opening car chase being especially enjoyable.

Also, Kuyakin and Teller spend time undercover in the movie as lovers and this ultimately leads to them becoming lovers for real. This wouldn’t be a problem, but the romance wasn’t very convincing. It’s not that they didn’t have any chemistry or anything, but it seemed rushed. The film would have benefited strongly if Ritchie had either given the relationship time to develop or cut it out entirely.

My Opinion of the Film

Overall, the movie is enjoyable as a work of popcorn cinema. Or at least, it is on first viewing. While watching the movie a second time, I felt that it fell apart.


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