Hot Take: If you skip it, you won’t kick yourself when you accidentally find it on cable one night. If you see it, you won’t hate yourself, either.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is yet another TV show reboot. Any novelty to the concept has worn off at this point. Leave out the small screen to big screen conversion and the action spy comedy genre is also in the “been done” group.
The movie itself is beautiful and stylish visually. The soundtrack fits like a glove. The stars are loaded with charisma. The chemistry is there. The storyline and plot is, well, not so much. There’s plenty of evidence presented by director Guy Ritchie and a solid cast that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. deserves a big screen send up but the chosen script just doesn’t deliver. Oddly enough, I’d welcome a sequel (with the same cast and director) because the only thing missing was a story to give this some real life.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Guy Ritchie’s Presentation
Thanks to Ritchie, the lame, generic script is presented in a slick and stylish package. It’s a vanilla cupcake in a fancy foil wrapper.
- Fresh Vintage
Often, when old TV shows are brought to life, there’s a lure to give it a twist. (See Get Smart… on second thought, don’t see Get Smart) U.N.C.L.E. doesn’t take the bait. There’s no update here and it’s fitting.
- It Has It’s Moments
While the script falls flat, there are a few memorable scenes hidden throughout. Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller and Sylvester Groth as Uncle Rudi stand out especially.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- “Origin Story” Handcuffs
Considering The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was on television for 105 episodes, there had to be a better story to choose from but the desire to tell it from the beginning (considering the lucrative sequel market, can you blame them?) made this feel like a big screen pilot.
- Remember Those Moments? It’s Not Those “Action” Moments
The action scenes are slick but flat. There’s nothing overly impressive here.
- It’s Generally Forgettable
I saw as many Mission: Impossible episodes as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. before seeing it brought to life on the big screen. Even though Tom Cruise is bigger than life (even at 5’7″), I didn’t have to think hard to remember Ethan Hunt. The secondary characters — Ving Rhames’ Luther, Jon Voight’s Phelps, Emmanuelle Beart’s Claire — were all memorable, too. Without looking them up, outside of Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo, I couldn’t remember one character’s name.