Spared or Spoiled Reviews: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Man from UNCLE Poster

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Written by Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman & David C. Wilson  Based on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. by Ian Fleming, Norman Felton and Sam Rolfe

Starring Henry CavillArmie HammerAlicia VikanderElizabeth DebickiJared Harris & Hugh Grant

I am not a fan of Guy Ritchie. Though, I used to be. His first couple of films were brilliant (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels & Snatch). He has a way with dumb guys who think they’re smarter than they are. It’s so authentic and funny. He can do small time London gangsters like nobody’s business. He brought this to his Sherlock Holmes films as well. His Sherlock Holmes was comfortable with the dregs of society. Bare knuckle brawling and hanging with the hookers and pickpockets. But where Guy runs into problems with me is when he tries to be overly clever. He is absolutely not clever. So his recent films play like a writer who thinks he’s more clever than he is (I can relate). It’s infuriating. I hate most everything else he’s ever done. But for some reason I enjoyed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. very much. And I’ll tell you why. The cast is phenomenal. Gorgeous, funny. Just amazing. And I want a sequel.

Verdict: SPARED

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer

Stepping out of the pages of GQ we have Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.

First of all there’s Napoleon Solo played by Henry Cavill. He’s suave and good-looking. A smooth talker with quick fingers and an eye for the ladies. He’s the American. He’s gorgeous. The man is just hot as fuck. But the character, created by Ian Fleming, is the American James Bond. If James were more con man than killer.

Napoleon Solo

Solo, Napoleon Solo. (I hear they’re looking for a new Bond)

Second we have the German girl, Gaby Teller, played by the amazingly versatile Alicia Vikander from Ex-Machina. I am officially in love with her. She’s a really good actor and she’s insanely beautiful. Just a tiny little fucking goddess. And of course the story takes place in the sixties and she rocks the sixties mini skirts and that sixties make-up extremely well. She looks amazing in this.

"Who are you calling tiny?"

“Who the fuck are you calling tiny?”

Lastly there’s the Russian, Illya Kuryakin, played by Armie Hammer. I think he may be my favorite. He’s a very large Russian agent with a history of violence and a short fuse. An America, a Russian and a German. And these three have great chemistry even through the excessively complicated plot and so-so dialogue. These three shine brightly.

The Man from UNCLE

“I don’t think we can all fit on that scooter.” “No. It’ll work.” “I call handlebars!”

Still this is a Guy Ritchie film. It is badly written and directed. I already have a problem when directors want you to know how clever they are with cutsie wipes and split screens. “Look at me. I’m directing. Eat your heart out Hitchcock.” And I already have a problem with writers who want you to know how clever they are with over-complicated plots and snappy and wholly unnecessary dialogue. Not only is every main character clever but every bit player is clever and look at that extra in the background… He’s clever too. But you know, I can take both of those kinds of writers and directors if they truly are clever.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. bad guys

“Are you being clever, my dear?” “Yes… You?” “Very.”

Guy Ritchie is not clever and he thinks he is. He really does. So it amazes me that through all of his crap I still loved this movie. And It’s all because of the cast. I could have watched these three for three more hours. And I want a sequel so badly that I wouldn’t even mind if Guy Ritchie directed it. I would pray for anybody else to do it, but I want to see these characters again so bad I wouldn’t mind the stupid and I’d still buy the DVD.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is saved by its actors. They are funny and talented. They have amazing chemistry. And they are all so very beautiful. It’s almost painful to watch.

– Mel


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