Friday, 14 August 2015

REVIEW: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

3.5/5

The Man From S.T.E.E.L.

116 Minutes. Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris & Hugh Grant. Director: Guy Ritchie.

From Mother Russia with the love of her brother, this Guy's still got it. After running detection and unraveling mystery with Mr. Holmes, the British intelligence of director Guy Ritchie is back with a sleuth load of spy movies coming out this year. And in adapting another classic undercover T.V. show from the swinging sixties, this one could even give the 'Rogue Nation' of the Tom Cruise fuse charged 'Mission Impossible' a run for its currency. No matter the country it gets exchanged to at a rate of exotic locations that could even out-stamp the passport of Bond. And with 007 on the mind and the 'Spectre' of 'Skyfall's' rear-view sequel on the horizon, 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' takes aim in making its lead agent case early. Slick suited and boldly booted like a GQ magazine party stepped out of an amazing array of old but timeless automobiles. Rolling out in a red carpet year that's seen so many secret agent films (see Colin Firth in the formidable 'Kingsman-The Secret Service', or even Melissa McCarthy in the silly but super 'Spy' spoof) emerge from the shadows of a summer shaded by the big budget blockbusters and the city drowning monsters and machines that try to rule it. Now you just know another spy film has to go hard, especially with the official end of the blockbuster season in the reign of the old 'Jurassic World' and 'Terminator' franchise reboots to go with the massive Marvel machine that has now lost some heat thanks to the not so 'Fantastic Four', even with a flame on hot cast lead by a re-ignited Human Torch. So with all this before and all the 'Star Wars' to come later that will lead to an awakening force of all sorts of superheroes squaring off with each other in a 'Dawn Of Justice' and 'Civil War' of 2016, we need something to hold us over and shake and stir us like a classic Martini. With the fall approaching its time to ditch the spandex for a suit and switch capes for ties. It's time for the Guy that took the 'Iron Man' of Robert Downey Jnr and put him under the magnify glass as just as great a 'Sherlock Holmes' to return with avengance with another superhero and he's going to need one hell of a Superman to do it!

No longer rocking out like Buddy Holly, whilst stepping into the booth and straightening the tie, Clark Kent is ditching those glasses again. Now although this buddy spy movie is no solo picture, our lead Henry Cavill is dynamite as Napoleon and you don't need a copy of the Daily Planet to read all about that. Tailor made for this the 'Man Of Steel' is magnificent as 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' Armed with a silencer, but supressing none of the confidence and charm that sees him defeating every bad guy and winning over all the ladies, Henry gives himself a license to Bond with 007. Yet with classic Hollywood looks chiseled to his Mount Rushmore chin of confidence, this throwback, leading man is UNCLE to all other nephews and leaves the original Solo of televisions answer to Cary Grant, Robert Vaughn proud. Originally it was meant to be Clooney, or Cruise to play the legendary Napoleon, but now the cavalier Cavill accepts this mission after a file of actors marked 'Hollywood' where almost recruited. Here another Brit plays a yank for Ritchie like a backwards Sherlock or Madonna. What more do you expect when a Englishman in New York attire is being called a cowboy by an American 'Lone Ranger' playing a Russian. Yep, that's Armie Hammer in this partner, buddy-spy roulette, as the other Man From the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Armed with the arm and hammer of a man built like an iron curtain in this Cold War era classic caper of a scorching battle of thrills and Sixties spills. Think Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp's underrated 'Tourist' escapade, but with a better journey than something that just looks like another sweet smelling but glass atomizer transparent perfume commercial. This swaggers with as much style as all the Oceans of Clooney films now, with Cavill taking it higher than 11. Riding as Solo, shotgun with a Hammer double act from the guy who terrifically played twins all by himself in 'The Social Network' before the Krays, cray-craze by 'Legend' Tom Hardy. With an awesome accented performance the man that held his own alongside the great Leonardo DiCaprio in the Clint Eastwood 'J. Edgar' biopic, muscles up alongside the one-liners of Cavill (think like the super Michael Fassbender's Magneto walking into other peoples scenes and situations with some 'First Class' quips) perfectly, more than just a compliment. Lets hope this one doesn't join his previously mentioned underrated films, because here alongside the Man of Steel-who shows beneath that veneer and demeanor there's charisma-the pair bring all the houses down. Just like they bring a whole row of cubicles to the stall floor before one bystander gets a chance to shake it off. Flushing everything else down the toilet this is the dogs, leaving all else to exactly that.

But what are two leading men without some femme fatales? We have some fatal females of the species here who are killer good. Just like Elizabeth Debicki who switches style from the Jazz-Age of 'The Great Gatsby' to some sexy Sixties sultriness. Or this years 'Ex Machina' breakout star Alicia Vikander who goes beyond the amazing android acting to show she too can dance like co-star Oscar Issac and cut an acting rug too. The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. adds one of this years most entertaining films to one of 2015's independent best. This actress of the future joins a cast of stars whose time on the silver screen is now, but there's timeless legends here too. To show these old spies aren't just about new tricks trying to keep up with the new age gadgets of Q's and Simon Pegg's with some copper and wire. Ritchie reunites with Sherlock's greatest adversary Moriarty in Jared Harris for more 'Games Of Shadows', but as great as Harris is, it's British national treasure Hugh Grant who almost steals the show without even having to steal someone's girlfriend with that old nervous, stuttering spiel. The classic Schick that made it feel like you where sitting through 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' is gone, as are the need for many more burials in a vintage feeling film that doesn't go ultra violent for the mass market in this brutal age of entertainment. Even a guy like Ritchie who snatched up some of the grittiest gangster epics replaces the grime with a sublime cut across the chest all the way down to the cufflinks that are fastened together with the classiest cool. From the sweetest sounding silencer that leads to a slick soundtrack that's full of Nina Simone and Burgundy jazz-flute, to the muzzle put on the bullets and blood-lust for some still affirmative action that entertains instead of pains. Even if some of the stunning set-pieces need a little spit and polish to keep them suited but not booted from the big screen showcase. But the again that would cramp the style of the best looking film of the year from the old 60's T.V. show screen slides and expositional typography that can do more for this film in three minutes that some other franchises take trilogies to do. And you best believe we have a new series now and no solo. Now hows that for entertainment? Will the likes of Bourne and Bond accept this? Mission Impossible? No...mission accomplished! Bobs your uncle! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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