The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Movie Poster
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Movie Poster

Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)

Star Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant

Director: Guy Ritchie

What’s Good: Suavely hot men save the world in this old style espionage drama. This revamp of the 60s TV series makes up for  a compelling watch with all its smooth criminal activities.

What’s Bad: For a spy drama, The Man From U.N.C.L.E lacks the wit and agility of the Bond series that provides wholesome gripping entertainment inclusive of style. The film’s screenplay goes through its lousy moments leaving the audience its yawn-some junctures.

Loo Break: Interval will suffice!

Watch or Not?: If you want to spend your weekend watching something different from Bollywood, this should be your pick. After all, espionage dramas make up for a good watch thanks to their engaging plots.

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It is 1963 and professional thief turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is given the job of extracting Gaby Teller whose father is a renegade Nazi and has been touted to be one of Hitler’s men and a rocket expert. Also on the hunt for Ms. Teller is Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), a KGB operative. After a brilliant car chase sequence at the onset, Solo is successful in extracting Gaby and reports to his superior, Saunders, who further reveals that Teller’s Uncle Rudi is the next source who will lead them to her father. Rudi works in a shipping company owned by Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra. According to Saunders, the Vinciguerras are using Teller’s father to build a nuclear weapon for them.

Interestingly, the task of acquiring Teller’s father through Rudi is assigned as a team work to Solo and Illya – who was earlier involved in the car chase to get Ms. Teller. Their next target is Rudi and hence the trio travel to Rome where Illya undercovers as Gaby’s fiance whereas Solo undercovers as the antiquities dealer.

In the meanwhile, at an event held by the Vinciguerras, Solo and Gaby try their best to divulge information. Illya on the other hand Kuryakin acquires evidence of Vinciguerras being exposed to radiation, indicating that their weapon is near completion. Soon, Solo and Kuryakin try to break-in to find traces of Uranium at the shipping yard but have to leave unsuccessful thanks to the security alarm being set off. Gaby on the other hand sets up a meeting with Rudy where she double crosses and exposes both Solo and Illya. They soon find out that she is a secret-operative working for Waverly (Hugh Grant) a high-ranking MI6 operative.

What further takes place is the trio’s efforts to stop the nuclear weapon from being activated. Will the trio accomplish this task is what is left to see.

still from movie 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'
A still from movie ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Review: Script Analysis

Guy Ritchie’s version of the 60s TV series by the same name is a colorful representation of the spies who despise each other at heart but stick through their undying moments as agents. When it comes to the script, the film is not exactly impressive. Where it truly fails is at establishing a menacing enough villain. The Cold War backdrop is not exploited enough as the central focus remains to be on the workings of Solo and Kuryakin, of establishing them as the good-bad-guys or heroes who are not exactly heroes.

While Solo’s character is developed enough by the writers with the inherent laid-back style and his flirtatious nature, Kuryakin on the other hand comes off as nothing more than a definitive Communist who is bad with humor or any kind of friendly banter in general. The utmost comfortable he gets is that he refers to Solo as ‘Cowboy’ in his Soviet accent. Also Gaby’s character other than being stylized beautifully lacks the edge. In not more than two scenes do we see her gifted mechanic skills which are later abandoned by the writers for the rest of the film. I say they could have come handy rather than Solo and Kuryakin chasing her though mountains when she is locked up Alexander in his car.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Review: Star Performance

Henry Cavill looks every bit of hot in this film and no it is not his Superman shades that we are still sighing over. His suave character of Solo is done so smoothly that every time he cracks a joke or a flirtatious line, you can’t help but slip into a smile. Cavill does a good job as Robert Vaughn’s sleek womanizer Solo.

Armie Hammer should be complaining about not receiving any signature style in this drama. While the original series had his character portraying the Beatles hairstyle of a blonde bob, Armie gets a strict look with a short crop. Hammer does a great job at the body language which is extremely tough as the Soviet spy. His uncomfortable dancing act is a highlight in the movie.

Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller is the best dressed MI spy who does a fine job, Unfortunately her character is not developed enough for her to put up a noteworthy act.

Elizabeth Debicki as the central villain Victoria Vinciguerra is quite the predictable one. Her loud make-up speaks more about her character than the few lines that she delivers. This glam-villain act does not turn out impressive in the film.

Hugh Grant makes a cameo as Waverly, the British agent who pulls of the final act. His charm is unmissable even in that brief character that he does and I completely love his look in the film. At one point, he completely takes center stage in a scene leaving Cavill and Hammer look as sidekicks.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Review: Music, Direction

Guy Ritchie has a penchant for adventures and while Sherlock Holmes may be his best work, with this film, he manages to do a decent job. On the script front, even though the film may be flawed, its execution is what steals the show. The agile camera-work and editing make this film a compelling watch.

Ritchie tries his best to bring out the artistic elements in the film with scenes such as Solo enjoying a glass of wine and a sandwich in the truck while his co-agent Kuryakin is busy distracting security at the shipping dock until he drowns. The entire scene culminates into Cavill driving the truck down in the water while an Italian pop song keeps playing in the background. Dainel Pemberton’s music work wonders for this film along with a great art direction. The film basically manages to hide its faulty plot by distracting you successfully with elements of snazzy style.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Review: The Last Word

Even though it may come off as a little predictable, The Man From U.N.C.L.E has its own moments of bliss. The film would prove to be a enjoyable weekend watch as it is loaded with style. I am going with a 3/5 for the dapper gentlemen Solo and Kuryakin’s enjoyable act.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Trailer

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. releases on 28th August, 2015.

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