The Man from U.N.C.L.E is the uber-cool modern adaptation of the cult 1960s TV show of the same name. The original show was created because of the huge popularity of the James Bond films. In fact, the creator of James Bond, Ian Flemming, contributed to some of the major concepts of the show.
U.N.C.L.E stands for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. United because the general premise is the merging of two super spies from America and Russia in the depth of the cold war. Thus creating a rather unbelievable collaboration between the CIA and the KGB. This organization operates above the normal secret service to infiltrate the evil baddies that MI6, the CIA, and the KGB can't catch.
It's fair to say, that the original series walked the line between spoof and serious drama. And the new adaptation tips a respectful nod to this perfectly. There is a brilliant blend of style and stupid, with a mass of wild action scenes woven in at just the right measure. Guy Richie was brought in as a late choice to direct the film and he adds his usual magic with aplomb. Yes, it's full of the typical Richie camera switching and flashback editorial tricks. But it's not done in an overwhelming way like in King Arthur, instead it's applied in a subtle way where necessary, more in the style of Snatch. As a fan of Guy Richie movies, I may be a little biased but he gets the balance just right.
What does really stand out in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, is just how slick and stylish it is. The decision to keep the whole thing set in the period was a wise choice. But it's amazing just how well they created the uber-cool sixties feel. Each scene is plastered with slick suits and sleek Mary Quant style dresses. Match this up to an amazing soundscore and for me, Richie and Co have mixed together the perfect recipe that results in a real triumph of a film.
So, the concept is great, the director is great, but what about the cast in The Man from U.N.C.L.E? For me, there are some great performances here. Henry Cavill is a real surprise playing CIA super spy, Napolean Solo. Now I know what you are thinking, Superman, playing a spy? But, he is amazing and I would not be surprised if he is the next Bond choice. Hugh Grant is perfect as the head of MI6 and Jared Harris is great as the CIA chief. On top of this, the two female leads steal the show somewhat. Alicia Vikander is fantastic playing Gaby Teller who is a lot more than she initially appears to be. But Elizabeth Debecki is amazing picking up the role of the evil mastermind. However, for me, the only downside in the casting is Armie Hammer playing Illya Kuryakin.
All in all, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is every bit the complete package for a choice of film for any moment. There's everything for everyone. It's cool, slick, has a reasonable story, an amazing soundtrack and on top of this, it's heaps of fun too. I loved it because it's everything that bond movies used to be. It's a super-spy film that is not drab and wrapped in self-importance like the Bourne movies.
Even though it is nearly two hours long, I was left wanting more and personally can't wait for a new Man from U.N.C.L.E to be made. If you are looking for a super cool two hours of entertainment, you could do a lot worse than to choose The Man from U.N.C.L.E on Netflix.
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