Film review: The Man From Uncle (9 out of 10)

Way back in the 1960s The Man From Uncle was essential TV viewing. It had heroes, action, mystery and an intriguing storyline.

Saturday, 15th August 2015, 10:05 am
The Man From Uncle
The Man From Uncle

Bear in mind that at the time there was a constant worry about nuclear war and the Berlin Wall was rock solid, the idea of an American teaming up with a Russian was quite a leap of imagination.

However, the show soared in the ratings, resulting in a lot of merchandising, and I had a Man From Uncle toy car and also the complete set of the bubble gum cards (sadly lost).

There must have been a great temptation to bring the story up to date and chuck in masses of amazing hi-tech resources for the agents.

But all credit to director and co-writer Guy Ritchie, he’s stuck with the 1960s timeframe, with its bold fashions, music and old-school clunky gadgets.

He’s had to bring the rivalry between the two main agents more into the open, but has kept it light and fun.

Thankfully, he’s also given them more of a back-story and character - the 1960s versions were rather two dimensional.

So we have CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) forced to work together.

They have to track down some nuclear weapons that are being built and sold by a mysterious organisation.

And they are joined by Gaby (Alicia Vikander) whose father. a nuclear scientist, has disappeared.

The rapport between the three is great and there’s good back-up from Hugh Grant as Mr Waverley (you’ll know who he is if you’ve seen the TV series), Jared Harris as Solo’s CIA boss and Elizabeth Debicki as a menacing villain.

Another nod to the 60s is Ritchie’s occasional use of the split screen and even the credits have that period feel.

It’s a great adventure and a superb re-boot of a classic series. The good news is that it’s all set up for another movie.

Film details: The Man From Uncle (12A) 100mins

Director: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol