The Man From U.N.C.L.E.


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
"Car chases and retro dialogue clog up the machinery"

Forget Robert Vaughn; forget David McCallum. This fresh crew look like rejects from the Ian Fleming franchise. So cool he looks like an ice sculpture, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is one of those poacher turned gamekeeper types who learn the moves but never the motivation.

It's the Sixties. It's the Cold War. The Ruskies appear ruthless and Putinesque, only taller. The Yanks have nothing to say outside The Clangers Book Of Cliches. The Brits, represented by Hugh Grant, hide their talent for double cross beneath a sponge of charm.

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The story is stupid. And complicated. An immensely rich and possibly aristocratic Italian lady wants to build an atom bomb. She kidnaps a Russian scientist to do the maths. The world, or at least part of it, is about to be obliterated. Why?

Ask me another, guv.

The CIA send Solo to East Berlin to find Gaby (Alicia Vikander), the boffin's daughter, in the hope that she will lead them to him. Two things happen. Illya (Armie Hammer), a KGB heavy, is ordered to stop the rot and puncture the plot, as well as assassinate anyone who gets in his way. Gaby, meanwhile, goes shopping in the West.

Because the man chosen to be The Man (Cavill) has the sex appeal of a fish head sandwich, there is no tension. What remains are car chases and retro dialogue that clogs up the machinery.

The look of a divided Berlin is beautifully reconstructed and Hammer does a decent job, putting flesh on a hired killer, while Vikander is mercurial and delightful despite Gaby's taste in fashion.

Writer/director Guy Ritchie had fun with Sherlock Holmes. Stop right there! U.N.C.L.E is humourless. His jaunty jokeshop attitude was smokin' in the days of Lock, Stock and Snatch. Now it's ashes.

Judging by the final scene a series of sequels are planned.

Please no.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2015
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The Man From U.N.C.L.E. packshot
Napoleon Solo teams up with a KGB operative for a joint mission.
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Deauville 2015

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