The Guardian Review: "Style paired with deathly boring substance"


Guy Ritchie has revamped the 60s TV spy caper The Man From UNCLE with co-screenwriter and co-producer Lionel Wigram, adding sex interest and machoising any residual hint of camp, but slathering the whole thing in lugubrious, self-indulgent men’s-mag type tailoring and style in various photoshoot Euro locations. Inevitably, he’s offering an “origin myth” account of this international secret-agent team. There’s some nice early-60s period production design and the whole thing moves along smoothly, if unhurriedly. But it never delivers anything like the punch of Tom Cruise’s M:I adventures, nor the wit and distinctiveness of 007. And the two male leads, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, are fantastically dull and uncharismatic, with all the sexy danger of a pair of M&S men’s underwear models, easily upstaged by their cheerfully pert co-star Alicia Vikander. And in fact all three are entirely outclassed by an airy cameo from Hugh Grant as the dry British intelligence chief Waverly, giving one-and-all an object lesson in scene-stealing.

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