Sunday, August 23, 2015

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

I joked in a tweet that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may have been a good movie, but I was too distracted by Alicia Vikander's legs to notice. Even though I kid, there did seem to be an unusual focus on them. That could just be me though.

I actually did enjoy The Man from U.N.C.L.E. though. It's pretty straight forward and run-of-the-mill as far as spy films go. There's no twist or turn that you don't see coming from a mile away, and there's nothing special about any of the action. This is probably sounding more like reasons I didn't like it, but what made me enjoy it was a likable, charismatic cast and above average humor. It's not funny to the point where it's a spoof of the genre, but we've already had a few of those this year, so that's probably a good thing.

It's kind of ironic that this stars Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill when just a few years ago I remarked in another review (not The Lone Ranger) that Hammer would be an interesting choice for Superman, only to have Cavill announced as Superman shortly after. Now that I see them acting against each other, I still stand by my statement, and it's not just because Hammer is clearly taller. It did seem unusual to me to cast an American to play a Russian and a Brit to play an American. What's the real motivation behind casting people and them forcing them to do strained accents? Like Jared Harris. What the hell kind of accent was he trying to do?

As far as the rest of the cast goes, I could have used a lot more of the ladies. Alicia Vikander was cute and charming, but it would have been nice to see her fleshed out a bit. There's hints here and there, but they don't follow through. Elizabeth Debicki was one of the few things I liked in The Great Gatsby and I've been waiting to see what she was doing to do next, so I was disappointed to see her underused here. She tries to do her best and has this evil sexiness quality, but there's not much more to her than the cold villain with a generic motivation and undeveloped character. It's not her fault, it's simply an underwritten role.

A friend asked me after I mentioned seeing this if it felt like a Guy Ritchie movie. Unfortunately, it doesn't, and it's not even worth comparing this to things like Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. While there are a few moments in the film that I really enjoyed that did feel like authentic Guy Ritchie moments, this feels more like his Sherlock Holmes movies than his earlier films.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is enjoyable enough for a lazy Sunday matinee. It's slick looking and reasonably fun, but you'll forget you saw it an hour later. You won't miss anything if were to wait for rental. I've seen much worse this summer though, so you could do a lot worse during Dump Season.

3 (out of 5) Death Stars

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