Unfortunately Robert Vaughn and David McCallum dont play any part in Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the classic ’60s TV show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E”, however Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer return the fun and wit to the spy genre.
Fans who remember the show may be charmed, as the movie gets the atmosphere pretty right. It’s 1963. Suave CIA agent and former art thief Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) sneaks into communist East Berlin to “extract” Gaby (Alicia Vikander), an auto mechanic. Her estranged father, once a nuclear scientist for the Nazis, has disappeared with a bomb recipe that could fall into the wrong hands. In a wild, bullets-flying car chase, hot-tempered KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) tries to stop Solo and Gaby from getting to the West, but the rival agents soon learn that their governments want them to work together.
The characters may be out of this world feeble and cliché, yet the comradery and comedic harmony in the middle of Cavill and Hammer is more than satisfying, principally got from the sharp dialog by Ritchie and co-author Lionel Wigram. Every play off the mystery specialists generalization to incredible impact: Cavill exaggerates the carefree and vainglorious criminal, overflowing appeal more in the vein of Cary Grant than James Bond while Hammer includes diversion by playing up the humorless, brutish Russian spy. Crisscrossed cops, spies, and so on are generally a simple offer for a crowd of people and Cavill and Hammer are a delightfully cumbersome blending.
The chic production design and John Mathieson’s slick cinematography create a feast for the senses. A major highlight is Daniel Pemberton’s score, a groovy hodgepodge of ’60s musical sensibilities, from a fusion of ‘Mod’ to a modern take on Ennio Morricone’s classic style for “cowboy” Napoleon Solo.
Fans of Ritchie’s earlier works might not find the usual appeal here. Ritchie replaces his typical caustic and biting dialogue with subtle sexual innuendos and frequent fashion criticisms, drops the kinetic pacing and editing in favor of reveling in the production and costume design. That’s not to stay that Ritchie’s prints aren’t all over U.N.C.L.E because they are. Ritchie handles the U.N.C.L.E. material with utmost taste .This is his subtlest and classiest film yet.