Studio: Warner Bros. (1 hr. 56 min.)
Plot: A reimagining of the popular 1960s spy vs. spy television show.
This movie is based on the American television series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” in the 1960’s.
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris
Bottom Line: ***
By Laurence Washington
Fans of the popular 1960s “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” TV show shouldn’t go into this film expecting the same degree of homage “Mission Impossible” pays to its television roots. That’s not to say, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is a bad film. In fact, it’s quite clever and exciting. You have to get used to the idea that its director Guy Richie’s reimagining.
Like the James Bond films, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” keeps the original character’s names and little else. They didn’t even keep “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” theme music, which this baby boomer thought was rather cool. But, ah, there’s the rub, this “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is made for a new generation of moviegoers who probably never seen the original.
So here’s the plot: Set in the 1960s, suave thief Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), is recruited by the CIA to smuggle a sexy East Berlin auto mechanic Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) into West Berlin to find her father, one of Hitler’s top rocket scientist, who is reluctantly building a nuke for a group of Nazis, who by the way make wonderful movie villains.
During the extraction, Russian spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), tries to stop Solo and kidnap Gaby to help the Russians find her father. The pair beat the hell out of one another the first half of the movie. But at last, barrowing every buddy cop cliché, sparring partners Solo and Kuryakin eventually team up and go after the Nazis bent on nuclear destruction.
Well casted, witty, edge-of-the-seat excitement and high-style extravaganza, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” coming on the heels of an overdose of superhero movies, is a refreshing surprise to the late summer fare.
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This column was printed in the September 20, 2015 - October 3, 2015 edition.