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The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Year: 2015
Production Co: Davis Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Lionel Wigram
Writer: Guy Ritchie/Lionel Wigram/Jeff Kleeman/David C Wilson
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant

I've been steadily more disappointed in every Guy Ritchie film for the last decade and a half. He's never been better than in his cockney gangster phase, and when he left it behind to just be The Remake Guy he never had the same zing.

Even so, the two Sherlock Holmes films were fun enough and well enough made. This abortion doesn't even have that going for it. A lot of critics have said that even though it's short on substance it has a good sense of style and visual flair. I disagree – a few costumes and 60s-era cars and locations in the spectacular climes of Rome don't make for a good sense of style.

In what should have been a high point in the climax – of the heroes and forces of good storming the island stronghold of the villain – Ritchie can't even be bothered (or didn't get the budget for) staging a large battle as they fight their way inside. It's all glossed over in less than a minute with a few split screen shots of what looks like a cheap SWAT team landing in a rubber dinghy and running across a rooftop.

It's about the characters from the TV series, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), spies from opposite sides of the Cold War who have to team up to stop a nuclear plot at the hands of society dame Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki). It involves rescuing the daughter (Alicia Vikander) of the nuclear scientist Victoria has captive and criss-crossing Europe to solve the mystery and stop what will certainly become World War III.

The weird choices Ritchie makes to depict the action are endless, and they jar the story constantly. One trick he employs is in replaying the last scene from a different perspective and showing you how the character pulled off a particular trick. It's a little bit cool once, but it pops up about three times.

Cavill and Hammer also have little to none of the 'antagonistic buddy/cop' chemistry the film was aiming for, nor do Hammer and Vikander generate any of the sexual tension they're supposed to. It's an action film with a minimum of action (and certainly nothing you haven't seen before), a comedy three hander where none of the actors fit together, and it all comes off a confused mess.

I like it less every time I think about it, and I didn't like it that much to begin with. It's also still a mystery what possible market appeal they could see in a movie based on a mildly successful show nobody in the target audience has ever heard of, but this isn't the place to deconstruct it.

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