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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Movie Review - The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hamer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Groth, Luca Calvani, and Hugh Grant 
Directed by Guy Ritchie

More style over substance, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. unfortunately doesn't come together as a full motion picture despite rather charming and winning performances from its key quartet.  When your film's climax feels unimportant, you know you've got a bit of a problem and that's the case here.  By the time the last twenty minutes rolls around, you may be in danger of having checked out even though you were somewhat intrigued by everything that came before.

Based on the tv show of the same name, The Man from Uncle is a spy flick that's firmly planted in the 1960s.  With WWII over, tensions are still high thanks to nuclear fears and the US, led by thief turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), finds itself teaming up with Russia in the form of KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) to track down the villainous Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani and Elizabeth Debicki).  The wealthy couple may have kidnapped the physicist father of auto mechanic Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) in order to help formulate a nuke that they can sell to the highest bidder and the US and Russia see Gaby as the way to get into the Vinciguerra compounds.

Director and co-screenwriter Guy Ritchie certainly creates a stylish, classy, and mod-looking film.  Visually, there are absolutely appealing aspects to The Man from Uncle.  Ritchie also does a really nice job of bringing elements of comedy to the mix, cleverly mixing witty wordplay with some rather ingenious visual set-ups.  Unfortunately, there's something about the espionage aspect of the script that never quite lands.  After a rather fun opening chase sequence, Ritchie can't quite craft his action sequences in ways that feel as if they're enhancing the plot and they bog things down rather than rile things up.

The cast is all around charming (albeit a little wooden in that James Bond "suave" sense -- not a bad thing) and fits perfectly in the 1960s era the film depicts with particular kudos to Elizabeth Debicki who snidely plays the dastardly villainess.  Ritchie just can't bring the varying genres of his film together to create a fully realized flick.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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