Examiner: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a bland actioner that ignores the TV show (Blu-ray)


Fans of the original TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” will recall exactly what it was that made it work so well. It was a fun and entertaining spy show that was amusingly campy, with charming performances from Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. Fast forward 50 years later and it becomes rather surprising that no one had put together a feature film based on the show this entire time. After all, most of the other major spy shows of the period got their big screen treatment, from the upper end of the scale with the “Mission: Impossible” franchise to the lesser adaptations that included “The Avengers” and “I, Spy,” so why not take a chance with the one that is famous for starting the spy trend of the ‘60s in the first place? At long last, under the direction of Guy Ritchie (“Snatch,” “Sherlock Holmes”), fans finally get to see Napoleon and Illya have their own big screen adventure, but was the wait truly worth it, or is it just another ‘60s adaptation that’s best forgotten?

Set in the early ‘60s during the Cold War, the film starts with CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) on a mission in Berlin in which he is to seek out the daughter, Gaby (Alicia Vikander), of a scientist who has mysteriously disappeared while working on nuclear weapons. Unfortunately for him, the KGB has sent an agent, Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), to find her as well. Solo barely manages to escape with Gaby to the American side of Berlin, but in a shocking turn of events, the CIA and KGB decide that it would be best to work together, for if any country should get their hands on the information that Gaby’s father has, they would become a major threat. Forced to partner up, Solo and Kuryakin make the best out of the situation as they attempt to hunt their target down in the hopes of preventing what could be an enormous nuclear catastrophe.

It needs to be stated right up front that fans of the original show who sit down to watch this big screen adaptation in hopes of seeing a film that does justice to it will be immensely disappointed. Other than three character names, Guy Ritchie’s film has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘60s television show. There’s no fun, no camp, and, as hard as it is to believe, U.N.C.L.E. doesn’t even exist (that is until it’s cheekily mentioned in the final seconds of the film, revealing we’ve been watching a pointless origin story the entire time). As for the characters themselves, Napoleon Solo is given the pointless backstory of being a former criminal who was caught and forced to work for the CIA, while Illya Kuryakin is apparently a one-man wrecking crew, meaning that Ritchie and his crew apparently didn’t pay the least bit of attention to the source material that they were supposed to be adapting.



Much more about UNCLE:
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