A stylish action/comedy that lacks a little substance.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E is a Guy Ritchie adaption of the 1960’s spy TV show. Its Cold War era story, tells of two agents, one Soviet, one America, who work together to bring down a terrorist organisation bent on creating and distributing nuclear weapons.
The film is instantly recognisable as a Guy Ritchie affair. It’s got sharp dialogue and one hell of a catchy soundtrack that keeps the action always moving. Henry Cavill plays Solo (affectionately known as cowboy) and does a sound job. As does Armie Hammer who plays Illya (also affectionately known peril). They both relish the dialogue and are irrevocably cool and suave. They also both lack any really individualism beyond that. Their back stories are both briefly touched on, more so in Illya’s case but it never materializes into anything that seems to affect motivations. They both have interesting pasts but it doesn’t affect their characterisation. Obviously this is partly a comedy, so that can somewhat be forgiven but there aren’t enough laughs in the film to truly justify that label.
The female lead, Gaby played by Alicia Vikander appeared to be a love interest in the trailers and there is certainly an element of that, but she is also very much involved in the action as well. I felt that in these action scenes she excelled, and I would have loved to see the film delve into her past and her associations with the Nazi. Overall I felt like the film didn’t do enough with her character because there’s certainly plenty more material there to work with. The few comedic scenes she is in, she excels at and she is always enigmatic on-screen.
The action sequences are where the film really impresses. They are smooth and incredibly awesome. The film is full of colour and life, especially in these moments and it somehow manages to have you on the edge of your seat while also laying back and just marvelling at whats on-screen.
Another disappointment would be the overall story and antagonist. There was absolutely no new ground covered, it’s the archetypal spy film in the sense of the story. It all very predictable stuff. The villains don’t get nearly enough screen time to be anything other that cardboard cut outs and there’s no real sense of peril to attach onto.
Overall I’d say it’s worth it for the actions scenes and the dialogue alone because the film is really in a league of its own in this regard. You won’t be disappointed by the film, in fact you’ll probably quite enjoy it but it doesn’t do enough to be anything more than a one time viewing and a fleeting moment of fun.
P.S. I was eagerly excited to see David Beckham’s cameo in this but I couldn’t seem to spot him? Does anyone know where he appears in the film?