The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Movie Review
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Those older among us will remember a show called The Man from U.N.C.L.E., starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as secret agents forced to spy together to infiltrate a dangerous criminal organization. Warner Bros. has rebooted that storyline, sticking to the Cold War era and these engaging characters in a new release guided by Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie.
Starring Henry Cavill (as top CIA agent Napoleon Solo) and Armie Hammer (as the KGB's top man Illya Kuryakin), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a proper throwback to the early 1960s when Soviet and American espionage clashed in East/West Germany. Ritchie's got the pace, fashion, music and visual editing down pat, transporting moviegoers back in time as they watch Cavill and Hammer duke it out.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
The Berlin Wall separates East and West Germany, and the CIA and KGB watch each other's backs, hoping to outwit and even eliminate the other. The Americans' top man, Napoleon Solo, is a slippery one, who brings a particular set of skills to the craft of spying unlike the KGB has ever seen. Likewise, Kuryakin possesses strength and cunning that seems beyond human. To say that these two are at opposites is an understatement of seismic proportions. But, when solid intelligence points to a mysterious crime family proliferating nuclear weapons, the two untrusting spies are ordered to join forces.
THE GOOD AND BAD IN THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Fans of the Golden Globe award-winning TV show, and spy movies alike, will find The Man from U.N.C.L.E. entertaining. It falls into the good summer popcorn movie category. Ritchie offers some surprises and some laughs along the way. The movie's great, original music by British composer Daniel Pemberton (The Counselor) is reminiscent of Pink Panther and '60s-era James Bond movies. Some may find the movie's at-times slower pace and uncomplicated spy story bothersome. But, it works for this stylish, old school remake.
Casting British actor Henry Cavill as the American spy and L.A.-born actor Armie Hammer as the Russian agent may not look right on paper. But, these two slip into the skin of these extravagant characters well, giving them both a charming quality despite their true natures.
Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is inappropriate viewing for younger audiences. Though this spy movie does have its action violence (explosions, gunfights, punches, etc.), it's not very bloody. Foul language isn't really a problem. However, the dialogue does contain sexual innuendos here and there. The "partial nudity" scene is one of a woman leaving Solo's bedroom wearing only barely-there underwear (seen from the back and side). There is also a scene of torture that includes electrocution. To give one of the character's backstory, some disturbing images of medical experiments perpetrated on Holocaust prisoners are seen on screen.
IN THE END
If you're of a certain age and enjoy action movies, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. offers a good change of pace and time from the modern-day spy film fare. It's not going to win any depth awards, but it does deliver summer popcorn movie fun. However, as detailed above, caution is advised.
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