Man From UNCLE – Review
by John Seedhouse
This will be a review about the Man From Uncle. Please stick with it.
Back in the late 70s or maybe early 80s haircuts were a terrible thing. In my old hometown you went to see Geoff. Geoff’s was a step up from a barber and a step down from a salon – you sat and waited (and waited and waited and waited) but you did get to suggest to him what you wanted doing your hair. I’m pretty sure that he just gave you a “whatever” trim, and I am almost positive that he was balder under his wig than I am now…
Anyway, back in whenever it was, I had hair. I had (and still have) no clue about what suits me (although being bald is a blessing these days) so I used to ask for an “Illya Kuryakin” – I was really into this show that was repeated on BBC2 called, The Man from UNCLE – which I am fairly certain that nobody else in my class watched.
They have remade it. At last. The only other people who I have ever known that knew of it were my friends Pip and Cris, and back in the 90s we would confidently predict that it WOULD get remade. Anyway… trailer…
What does this have to do with haircuts?
Oh, okay – carry on…
Guy Ritchie has made some great movies such as Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels
Enough with the giphy embeds!
Back to The Man from UNCLE then. Many of the Guy Ritchie traits are there; clever humour and oozing style, but also the reliance on heavily considered wordplay and this desire for quotability can get a little tiresome. It is almost as if the script has been written with animated Gif-ability in mind…
There is an attention to detail that you would expect from a GR movie. The clothes, sets and props are selected to hint at a non-specific cold-war period and the story gallops along from set-piece to set-piece without too much slack. Henry Cavill is in his George Clooney smoulder mode although I am not entirely convinced by him (based on this and Superman). I liked Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger and he does a decent job here of being me (I mean Kuryakin).
Open Channel D
In a similar vein to the recent Fantastic Four movie (read my review here) we are again given a remake which focusses on the origin story. I suppose that this is okay for the Man from UNCLE property that few people may remember but GR has missed the chance to play with sexy stylish Sterenko-esque spy toys by going for the “opening chapter”. This seems a missed opportunity, although there is the obvious “we want to make a franchise” element by the time the credits roll.
Is it campy?
It’s a bit campy. Sort of borderline campy. It isn’t Austin Powers but it isn’t quite Ocean’s Eleven…
Something has annoyed you though…
Throughout the film there are some really nice uses of props to convey the indeterminate cold-war period. E-type Jag… Trabant…sexy race-car…clunky computer tape…borderline sexism…Berlin Wall… and yet the appearance of a mid-90s Land-Rover is irksome. It’s a little thing but everyone I know, who knows UNCLE, will spot this, and for a director with such an eye for detail then this is kind of THRUSH-like sabotage.
Sadly no – although there is a brief Easter Egg while Solo has his lunch.
Should I visit the tailor?
This is a decent stab at remaking a product that is “of its time.” The Man from UNCLE occupies a fond place that some may say is coloured by nostalgia but as a 2015 offering, this isn’t half bad. It could have been awful. It could have ruined memories but doesn’t. I enjoyed it. Mrs L enjoyed it. The cinema was not deserted and there were no angry shouts.
8 badly hidden micro-transmitters out of 10
John is a cold war spy with a funky gun and a full head of lustrous blonde hair. He likes films and being distracted.