Many of the spy films produced today are all about action, big explosions and extraordinary feats of danger. The “James Bond” and “The Mission: Impossible” film franchises are great examples of that. As good as those examples are, one element seems to be missing — the element of cool.
“The Man from U.N.C.L.E” brings cool back to the spy game. Tailor-made suits, martinis, a stylish car, a quick wit and a gadget or two are all that are needed to complete the mission.
The film is set during the 1960s, during the height of the Cold War. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is the CIA’s top agent. Solo is forced to work for the agency after he is convicted for theft. He becomes an indentured servant working for his county to obtain his freedom.
Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is Russia’s top agent in the KGB. Kuryakin is constantly trying to prove himself after his father is exiled to Siberia for embezzling party funds. To stop the sale of world’s first privately constructed nuclear bomb, Solo and Kuryakin are paired together.
Unlike a lot of the new “Bond” films, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” does not take itself so seriously. While a plot that is set in reality is great, sometimes humor is the best tool that can be used to move the story forward.
For example, when Kuryakin rescues Solo from a basement where he is being tortured, they then turn the tables on the doctor who was torturing Solo and strap him into his electrocution machine.
While being questioned, the doctor volunteers to provide them with any information he has in exchange for his life. Kuryakin and Solo step out of the room to consider the offer. As they talk, a fire breaks out in the room and Solo simply remarks he left his jacket in the room. Another scene involves Solo and Kuryakin trying to flee from a group of soldiers in a boat. As the boat is turning, Solo is thrown into the water. The chase between the two boats continues as Solo swims to shore. Once he gets to shore, he gets to a truck, where he finds lunch box sitting on the seat. He starts to eat the sandwich and watches boats chase each other. Only when he finishes eating does he decide to lend a hand.
The film pays a good tribute to the television show that is based off of. While like most spy films, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” won’t receive awards or much attention from critics. However, it is a good, solid adventure that does not disappoint. It rewards the audience with a great time. This film is rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content and partial nudity.