Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Movie Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Movie: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (screenplay/story), Lionel Wigram (screenplay/story), Jeff Kleeman (story), & David C. Wilson (story)

Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, & Jared Harris.

One-Line Plot Synopsis: 1960's special agents from the CIA (Cavill) and KGB (Hammer) team up to stop the developing of nuclear weapons by a criminal organization.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a spy movie throwback to the early James Bond films of the 1960's and focuses on the suave charm of spies before they got all bad ass in the new Daniel Craig Bond films or the Jason Bourne series.  The movie focuses more on the ploys and back-stabbings of conversation and deception than on fancy gadgets and violence.  Now, that isn't to say that there's no action at all in the movie, in fact, the car chase scene early in the movie is actually quite good and very well choreographed.

I think I've said this before, but Alicia Vikander is the new Jessica Chastain.  Do you remember when Chastain just came out of nowhere and started starring in just about every movie with great actors for like 3 years straight?  That's kind of what Vikander is doing, even getting that started with a spy movie like Chastain did with The Debt.  Granted, I liked The Debt much more than this movie, but that's neither her nor there.  I'll be writing about the incredible Ex Machina soon, but I can't seem to watch a movie trailer these days without catching a glimpse of Vikander somewhere in there.  Not that I'm complaining, I actually really like her, I just don't want to her to become over saturated.

Alright, let's get into some of the actual performances in the movie.  Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill might have the least amount of combined charisma of two co-stars in a movie that I've ever seen.  Cavill is playing a James Bond type but has none of the flair or comic charm that a guy playing Bond has to have in order to make a character of this nature work.  Some people will say that it's intentional with the comic timing and it's supposed to be a dry humor type of thing but, in order for that to be the case, I think the comedy has to actually be funny no?  Hammer on the other hand, is a little better than Cavill in my opinion but he does get to play a character with a little more to it than Cavill's.

I'm not sure how I feel about Guy Ritchie anymore.  He started out guns blazing with Snatch and Lock Stock, but has been all over the place after that.  I think I like his stylized directing style more than I like the substance behind any of his movies.  Much like how in RockNRolla, I like certain cool performances or scenes but that's not a movie I'm going back to the well for to put on any time soon.  Even with the Sherlock Holmes movies, I really enjoyed certain scenes, like the following, but thought the movie was just good and not great.

Maybe that's what it is.  Guy Ritchie is really, really fucking good at filming fight scenes.  I mean, who doesn't like these two from Snatch.

So, I think that's what I actually end up taking away from Guy Ritchie movies.  The fight scenes are cinematic gold.  As for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I was lukewarm on both the performances and the story and it's probably something that I won't watch again, aside from maybe checking out that car chase scene.  Also, not a good name for a movie, just sayin'.

Rating: 5.5/10