Could use a more engaging plot the next time 'round
As modern film adaptations of classic television shows go, the track record has been less than stellar. Sure, the Jump Street series has been amazingly fun and Starsky and Hutch wasn’t too bad, but they’re hardly the norm.
We’re usually subject to remakes more like The A-Team, Miami Vice, The Avengers (no, not the Marvel heroes), Bewitched, Dukes of Hazzard and Charlie’s Angels.
Ugh, Charlie’s Angels. How did that even get a sequel?
Well, in any case, I’m pretty happy to say that Guy Ritchie’s take on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. successfully navigates the waters of sunken remakes and presents itself as not only a fast paced espionage-action romp with a good dose of humour, but also manages to deliver great characters that are interesting and fun.
While the movie does take ease with a simple plot driven by the conflicting intentions of the various characters, the script keeps you glued to the sequences while somehow convincing you to root for both, the American CIA agent, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and his rival KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) despite the two often being at odds with each other. And while leading lady Alicia Vikander is a tad underplayed over the course of the movie, her role not only beefs up by the end but is also promised greater prominence in event of a sequel.
Despite the entertaining script and great acting, the true star of the show is Guy Ritchie’s skills behind the camera. Having spent the last 5 years or so on the Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, Jr., Ritchie brings the same sense of style and substance to his work on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. showering the movie in a tone appropriate for its true-to-source setting, bolstered only by a great script.
As a comic geek, I’m obliged to make special mention that Henry Cavill was at his Clark Kent best and can only hope that we eventually see this side of him in a movie that actually features the aforementioned character.
Additionally, followers of George Miller’s long dead Justice League: Mortal would get a kick out of the pairing of Cavill with Armie Hammer, Miller’s choice for Batman. Although that door is now closed, one can only imagine what it would have been like had Hammer been retained as the Dark Knight. (Though that became almost certainly impossible following his turn as another masked vigilante in The Lone Ranger.)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. hits screens on September 3rd.