Review: Slick ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ an empty reboot
Guy Ritchie’s reboot of the 1960s spy series has the depth of a fashion ad
“Fantastic Four,” consider yourself off the hook: “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” wins the award for summer’s least necessary reboot.
This update of the 1960s spy series may be summer’s least necessary movie, period. Love spy thrillers? This one’s competent, in focus and instantly forgettable. Big fan of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer? There are deli trays that have more chemistry than these two leads.
So what we have here is a film that is for nobody. The mystery of who its intended audience is and why it was made in the first place is more interesting than anything that transpires on screen.
Cavill, out of his Superman cape and into a series of well-tailored suits, is Napoleon Solo, a CIA agent in West Berlin during the Cold War who ends up clashing — and later teaming — with Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) to stop some sort of end of the world blah blah blah.
Cavill is supposed to be slick and charming — think George Clooney, who was at one point attached to star — but his diction and over-enunciation of every line of dialogue come off like Christoph Waltz sending up an American TV newsman.
Hammer is a lug, saddled with a brut Russian accent that make him even more stiff than usual.
Are we having fun yet? “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is ostensibly supposed to be fun, and the mod costumes do look like old pages of GQ come to life.
Director Guy Ritchie, who wrote the script along with his “Sherlock Holmes” partner Lionel Wigram, must have some sort of fondness for the series or the period, which would help explain the “why?” surrounding this movie. And while it looks good — Ritchie has always been a slick visual stylist — it’s ultimately as passive as an old rerun.
‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’
Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity
Running time: 116 minutes