THE MAN FROM UNCLE (2015, Guy Ritchie)
One of those recent re-boots of successful TV-series from the good old days (the Sixties mainly). After the popular and critical success of his Sherlock Holmes updates, Ritchie seemed to be the right man for the job.
Well, he was, and he wasn’t. This re-boot is well-crafted and elegantly staged, but it’s also typical PG stuff, aimed at large audiences, and we’re far removed from Ritchie’s Snatch and Smoking Barrels days. The film recreates the Cold War atmosphere with the help of a clever costume and set design and the opening scene, set on both sides of the Berlin Wall, is particularly fine, but if the opening is promising, the finale is a real let-down and most of what’s in-between, is too casual to create any real excitement. Ritchie still knows how keep things moving, and all in all this is a pleasant ride, but things used to be much spicier before he started dating Madonna.
With a story about a doomsday weapon and counter-counter-espionage this Man from Uncle is often closer to Bond than to the legendary TV Show from the Sixties (which, I suppose, was the small screen’s answer to Bond). Instead of telling the further adventures of Solo & Ilya, it’s meant to be a sort of prequel, explaining us how these two guys became the men from UNCLE. I liked Armie Hammer’s Kuryakin better than Henry Cavill’s Solo, but he’s been given an awfal fake Russian accent). Hugh Grant - of all people - is fun as Alexander Waverly, the one who’s responsible for bringing the Russian and American ace spies together, but Swedish actress Vikander easily steals the movie as the double-double-crossing Germn/British agent. She has quite a few accents as well.