“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” may be stiff, but it is smooth – movie review

Real Three Stars

Devin King | Staff Reporter
Published August 7, 2015; 10:30 a.m

With the recent releases of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Spy” and “Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation,” the spy genre has seen not only an increase in entries, but also in quality. The latest entry into the genre, Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” however, does not stack up to the previous film mentioned, but is still a spy story worth seeing.

A reboot of the 1964 TV show of the same name and set in the same era, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” tells the story of American spy Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Soviet spy Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) who become instant rivals after an incident in Berlin. However, their respective agencies join up with other spy groups to form the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) and the two unlikely partners are forced to work together.

Solo is an all-American charmer who prefers to deceive people to get what he wants. Cavill’s performance is incredibly entertaining with his over-the-top American accent, and easily gives the best performance. Kuryakin is the more sly and quick tempered of the two. While Kuryakin is an interesting character, Hammer was not given enough to work with to make Kuryakin nearly as interesting as Solo. The chemistry between the two can be somewhat hard to see at times, but when it is there, it works. Unfortunately, none of the characters receive as much development

The mission is to apprehend a mysterious criminal organization and their only lead is the daughter of a scientist connected to the organization, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander). With much of the film having to do with the 1960s, it should come to no surprise that the film relies heavily on nostalgia of classic spy films. The ridiculous plot and campy characters seem like they are taken right out of Sean Connery’s heydey.

But Bond “U.N.C.L.E.” is not. The story is structured more episodically than cohesively, which is somewhat as to be expected for a reboot of a TV show, and while the events do relate to an overarching story, there is so much that happens in between that it can be hard to remember what was going on. The plot takes a major backseat as a result. Luckily, the good comedic beats and the few action scenes help make up for the neglected story.

On the outside of things, the film looks and sounds great. The shaky camerawork leave a little to be desired during the action, but aesthetically, the film looks as sharp and as smooth as it sets out to be. The great sceneries also helps the film’s cinematography a bunch. The score and soundtrack are, however, nothing short of incredible. Composer Daniel Pemberton’s style not only matches every mood that is hit, but elevates most scenes higher that they might have hit. The music is very reminiscent of classic spy scores with a hint of a modern flare to them.

Even though “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is the weakest spy movie to come out this year, there is enough done just right to make the film still worth an admission ticket.

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