Sunday, January 3, 2016

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

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  I would suggest doing a spin-off called The Woman from U.N.C.L.E. but, after seeing the backlash from the Ghostbusters reboot, we know how well men on the internet take women doing literally anything.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – 3 out of 5

My familiarity with the old 1960’s television series that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was based on is insanely limited.  I pretty much knew of its existence, that James Bond’s father Ian Fleming had a hand in its conception, that it starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum and what its title was.  I never saw a single episode or even knew what it was about beyond that it involved spies.  However, when I saw the Comic-Con trailer for the film adaptation and saw that it starred Superman and was directed by Guy Ritchie I was all-in and pretty excited for the film.  I had planned on seeing it in the theater but never found the time to see it—because I was busy with my own spy work.  However, it recently hit the home media department and I was able to finally catch it…and it was okay.

Don't do a Grey Poupon joke, Ron.  Don't do a Grey Poupon joke.  Don't do a Grey Poupon joke.

"Excuse you have any Grey Poupon?"


In 1963, a super spy extraordinaire; Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is forced to team with a very talented KGB agent named Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer).  What could possibly happen that would force the CIA and the KGB to work together, you might be asking yourself?  Well, it seems that a young girl named Gaby (Alicia Vikander)—who was recently rescued from East Berlin by Solo—has an uncle that mysteriously vanished and may be in the hands of a shady criminal organization that is looking to get their nasty hands on nuclear weapons.  In order to protect both countries, Solo and Kuryakin team together and work with Gaby in order to save the day and protect the world.

I'll be honest...a small part of me was hoping that explosion in the background
was Batman coming for Cavill.  I'm really excited for Batman v Superman.

Just the presence of Jared Harris in the cast made
this film worthy of its score of 3 out of 5.
For the most part, U.N.C.L.E. isn’t a bad film but it’s definitely not one of Guy Ritchie’s best films—but it’s clearly not the worst one he’s done either because this film isn’t Swept Away.  The film offers up some fun and very clever action pieces and there are the usual Ritchie standards of some killer music choices that always compliment the scenes and some slick editing.  Additionally, Cavill is very charming and fun to watch as Solo and Vikander is giving off a great performance, too.  However, the film does have some issues that kept it from being something better and just ended up making the film just alright.

Cavill has a jawline that can bring a population of a small town to its knees.

The story to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. isn’t the most engaging thing and does come off like a way too standard and cliché spy affair.  Matters aren’t assisted at all when it felt like the story was dragging too much.  The story never gets boring but it didn’t have that exciting or engaging feel that so many of Ritchie’s films have.  The man really knows how to tell a story and has always had creative ways of revealing exposition that never felt like you were about to sit through the obligatory boring part of the story.  Sadly, with U.N.C.L.E., Ritchie’s usual slick presentation just isn’t as prevalent so there were times when the story dragged and just got too boring for me.

The plot twist of her being a robot that uses men in order to free herself felt
a bit familiar, as well.

Finally, I wasn’t too thrilled with the performance of Armie Hammer.  He wasn’t terrible in his role and he definitely had some fun moments with Cavill’s character of Solo but his performance wasn’t commanding attention the way Cavill’s did or other actors in the feature like Vikander or even Hugh Grant and Jared Harris.  Too often, Hammer’s performance and accent came off a tad cheesy and his wooden portrayal, at times, hurt the chemistry between himself and Henry Cavill.  The two work well together but, at the same time, never truly felt like they were working the best together and it often felt like Cavill was carrying the two.  Adding in a bland and very stiff performance only went against the already shaky chemistry the two had.

Their chemistry was so unreliable that Vikander's eyes went wide!

Actually, I'm being told she's wearing sunglasses.  But still, they weren't the best together.

My expectations for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. weren’t insanely high but I was pretty excited to see it because I am a big fan of Ritchie’s work and the trailer did make the film feel like a sweet spy film.  In the end, the film wasn’t as good as I had hoped for but wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Overall, with its occasionally boring story and weak performance from one of its leads but having that counteracted by some fun action and great performances from the rest of the cast, the film proved to be a decent watch that was ultimately a work of serviceable entertainment.

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