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

Even if it isn’t as much of grabber as the TV series, Guy Ritchie’s reboot sure gets points for style.

In the high-concept mode of “well, it worked with Mission Impossible”, we’re reaching back to a popular network series from the 1960’s to kick off what is clearly intended as a new feature length series. Inherent problem: in those days, America was in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviets. The concept of odd-couple pairing a CIA and KGB agent was fun because it was timely. Now? Not so much. That Cold War has thawed; there isn’t even a Soviet Union anymore. So the teaming of an American and Russian spy just doesn’t have the same oomph.

Ritchie, who co-wrote and directed, clearly doesn’t care. He plows ahead with the conceit, using it as a set up and then plunging merrily into a rather standard international mission thing which will save the world from nuclear bad guys (and remarkable sexy women). This “Man” is more style than substance and, in this case, that’s not so bad. Because the style is great. The scenes move along, the action is watchable, the people are very pretty. Very pretty Alicia Vikander, who may or may not be a damsel in distress, wears the coolest mod fashions. Elizabeth Debicki makes quite the impression as the louche louse. Hugh Grant shows up for a while, but the movie, as it should, centers around Henry Cavill, who is bland but sure handsome as Napoleon Solo and a surprisingly light on his toes Armie Hammer, clearly having fun as Illya Kuryakin. Everybody, it should be noted, wears great clothes and drives around in breathtakingly beautiful classic cars, making this movie, if not the most exciting release of the summer, sure one of the most fun to look at.


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