The list of recent films based on TV shows is endless. ‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘The Addams Family’ and others have enjoyed big screen outings which is ironic given how dependant TV was on films to fill its schedules when it began. Now the tail wags the dog with films relying on the small screen for inspiration. ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is the latest to transition to a bigger canvas in its own stylish way.
The 1960’s sees the Cold War heating up. With tensions between Russia and America at fever pitch, an unlikely alliance emerges. When a sinister criminal organisation obtains a stash of nuclear and hi-tech weapons, action is needed. Spy agency U.N.C.L.E. hatch a plan to bring together top agents Iilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) and Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill). Working for their respective countries, they race against the clock to prevent global cataclysm.
Directed with confident panache by Guy Richie, ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is a fun ride. Although firmly set in the swinging 60’s, it has a sleek modern feel. Helped immeasurably by the wonderful cinematography bringing out the screenplay’s colour, it zips along at a fast pace. The explosive action is greatly enhanced by the humorous touches Richie infuses. Less physically tough than his previous work, Richie’s world still has a sense of danger amidst the Cold War hokum.
The solid cast aid these elements well. Cavill and Hammer make a good team, finely handling the obstacles the script delivers. Despite the often ridiculous scenarios, it is easy believing in their camaraderie because of the lead’s chemistry. The soundtrack and costume designs are another big plus although the film is careful not to turn completely into a retro-nostalgia fest. The story always remains main focus, strongly holding the action and mayhem together with ease.
‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is fun escapist fare. It respects its source material with this successful adaption of the TV series sure to see Hollywood plunder the television archives further for more inspirational hijinks.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 8
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.
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