Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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

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

Starring: Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

Director: Guy Ritchie (Snatch)

U.S. Release: August 14th, 2015 (Rated PG-13)

Genre: Action

Runtime: 116 minutes

In the modern world of remakes and reboots, the industry's current lack of creativity and imagination usually leads to a complete mishandling of movies and television shows we once held near and dear to our hearts. However, one filmmaker has done an indescribable job of issuing successful returns to the characters we love. After a well-executed two film go-around with the mystery solving, Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie tries his hand at transforming the iconic 1960s television show, The Man from UNCLE, into a big screen phenomenon ... and boy does he succeed.

Napolean Solo (played by Henry Cavill), is a former thief turned suave CIA specialist who finds comfort in working alone. Yet, when Solo discovers he must partner up with a super-trained Soviet KGB operative (Armie Hammer), the pair attempts to put their differences aside for the good of the world. The unlikely duo use the daughter of a missing scientist (Alicia Vikander) to try and locate his whereabouts in order to stop an underground criminal organization from producing large quantities of nuclear weapons.

Anyone familiar with Guy Ritchie knows that he's a stylish auteur with an impressive film catalog. And his latest endeavor, The Man from UNCLE, hovers right around the top of the director's filmography. Ritchie has a knack for brilliantly meshing action with comedy, and UNCLE becomes yet another platform for him to unleash his skills. Boasting a clever script filled with sharp and jovial dialogue, these elegantly chosen words are brought to life by a perfectly selected trio of talents. As an outspoken hater of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, I had very little praise for anything involved with the film, Henry Cavill's performance included. However, Guy Ritchie manages to extract the best from his actors and actresses, like he always does, and Cavill demonstrates his true potential in a role that was destined for him. Co-star Armie Hammer refuses to take a back seat and delivers a performance equally as effective to his counterpart. Alicia Vikander rounds out the trio in what's proving to be an acting year for the ages with the success of Ex Machina and the upcoming Oscar shoe-in, The Danish Girl.

Although a well-rounded script and gifted performances would usually be enough to hang your hat on, UNCLE takes its winning formula even further with tasteful and exhilarating action sequences that never disappoint. Everything from the opening car chase scene to finely-tuned and choreographed fights, there are a plethora or positive attributes that helps make UNCLE the type of film that satisfies a diversity of audiences. And despite a finale that pushes on just a tad-bit too long, it's a blemish that's swept under the rug by a barrage of other outstanding traits.

As someone who went into the film with modest expectations, I was blown away by the level of excitement and laughs splashed all throughout The Man from UNCLE. Guy Ritchie has always been a fantastic source of fun-filled entertainment and his latest work is no exception to the norm. So do yourself a favor and take a chance on one of 2015's most thrilling and engaging offerings. You won't regret it.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B+

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