Thursday Night Movie Club
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
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Release Date: 14 August 2015

Director: Guy Ritchie
Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer
Alicia Vikander
Elizabeth Debicki
Luca Calvani
Sylvester Groth
Hugh Grant
Jared Harris
Christian Berkel
Misha Kuznetsov
Guy Williams
Marianna Di Martino
Julian Michael Deuster
Andrea Cagliesi
Riccardo Calvanese
Napolean Solo
Illya Kuryakin
Uncle Rudi
Captain Smith
Desk Clerk
Fishing Captain
Man 2
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie poster The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie poster The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie poster
Henry Cavill and Alicia Vikander star in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Under the capable hands of anyone other than Director Guy Ritchie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. might have been a great film. This film is a poor attempt to bring the beloved 1960's television series to the big screen. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer don't hold a candle to Robert Vaughn and David McCallum.

Ritchie uses comic-book split screen shots to tell the story. This technique is a poor attempt to visualize simultaneous action from different locations. This merely results in a distraction. The technique screams "Look at what a great director I am." Not hardly!

Henry Cavill stars as Napolean Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Napolean Solo (Henry Cavill) is an expert art thief, not a secret agent. He was caught but his talents landed him on the C.I.A.'s radar. They recruited him rather than see his skills rot in prison. Solo is working off his "sentence" by working "jobs" for the CIA.

During the 60s Cold War, Solo is sent to East Berlin to locate Gaby (Alicia Alicia Vikander). Gaby's father is being forced to build an atomic bomb. Solo must get her out.

They have only one problem. They are being followed by KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). The following cat-and-mouse chase sequence is spectacular. During the car chase, Solo wedges their car in an alley. He tells Gaby to get out through the window. Gaby, as well as the audience, is confused. What Solo meant was to crawl out the car through the window of the building. This is a clever joke. Unfortunately, it leads the audience to believe the remainder of the film will be as good.

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer star in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Since this is the Cold War, anyone attempting to build an atomic bomb besides the U.S. and Soviets is a threat to the fragile peace currently in place. A radical solution is needed to cope with radical situations. An international form of law enforcement is needed. This organization will be comprised of agents from all countries. Solo and Kuryakin are the first recruits.

The two form an uneasy partnership. Solo is only a thief. Kuryakin is just muscle. Their hidden talents are what is needed for them to succeed.

So far, so good. The opening scenes have some rather funny moments. Solo is at a roadside rest area where he is being briefed on the mission. He is informed of some bad news. In walks Kuryakin and the two men fight. Kuryakin's KGB director Oleg (Misha Kuznetsov) tells Kuryakin to not kill his partner on the first day.

In Rome, Solo awakens in his hotel room and discovers his room has about a dozen Russian electronic bugs. Solo confronts Kuryakin handing him the bugs. Kuryakin holds out his hand and gives Solo about a dozen American bugging devices in return.

Henry Cavill and Elizabeth Debicki star in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Unfortunately, the remainder of the film seems too easy. A family business owned by Alexander (Luca Calvani) and his wife Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) are the suspected culprits. Victoria actually runs the business. Of course she does. This sets up charming sexual innuendos and sex between her and Solo.

Solo attends a party thrown by Alexander. Kuryakin and Gaby, posing as an engaged couple, are there. Seems neither man told the other he was going to the party. Is this supposed to be funny or just plain stupid. Kuryakin uses a special camera to take photos of the guests. The special film will show traces of radiation. This confirms that Victoria is behind the building of the bomb. Victoria should take better care in regards to radiation poisoning.

Solo and Kuryakin decide to sleep on this important discovery. Of course, they both show up at the same factory, at the same time. Are these two men suspicious of each other or just plain stupid. They are supposed to be trying to save the world from a possible nuclear disaster after all!

Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill star in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.After their break in is discovered, the two men escape by jumping out of a window. They land in a speed boat. Is this the result of a clever escape plan, coincidence, or a lame excuse for a lame joke? During the ensuing boat chase, Kuryakin is chased while Solo falls overboard and swims to shore. Kuryakin crashes and almost drowns. Solo calmly watches from shore debating whether to let Kuryakin die. His conscience, or the clever script, get the better of him and Solo saves Kuryakin.

Solo is captured by Victoria and strapped to a chair where he will be subjected to electro-torture. The devices malfunctions. Ain't Solo lucky. Kuryakin rescues Solo, of course. They strap the torturer Rudi into the chair and step out of the room. While Solo and Kuryakin debate what to do with Rudi, the machine is somehow repaired frying Rudi. Ha Ha!

Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Henry Cavill star in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.The problem with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is no one knows whether the film is a comedy with doses of seriousness or a serious film with doses of comedy. The final resolution is a mess disguised as clever. The screen writers take a page out of the television show "Leverage". Solo contacts Victoria on her yacht attempting to stall her from firing the bomb. British Intelligence officer Waverly (Hugh Grant) gives orders to the men on a U.S. warship. Flash back shots overlaid with real-time action show what Waverly's order meant as well as the double entendres Solo tells Victoria.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has some very good sequences and some very funny jokes. Most of the film is mired in dull boredom and simplified storytelling. The film is too uneven. Like the "Mission Impossible" films, or "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a very poor updating of the fantastic source material. Sequel? Not a chance, unfortunately. Unless a director who really cares about the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. concept takes the helm.