Synopsis: In 1963 CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.
Review: If you ever wondered how Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin started working together for UNCLE then this film gives you a possible answer.
Fans of the hugely popular 1960s television series may find this remake to be much different from that series. In fact its a little edgier and rougher round the edges, but the main characters are still here and played fairly well by Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Solo is still suave and sophisticated, but having to put in a little effort while Kuryakin is at an early stage of development and wrestling with his quick fire temper, which is very unlike the character that we got to know in the TV show, but no less fun.
In fact much of the films humour derives from their adversarial relationship and the fact that they are constantly trying to one up each other. A case in point is where Solo is cutting through a security fence with cutters while Kuryakin uses a laser.
Elizabeth Debicki makes for a convincing villain as Victoria who has an interesting game of cat and mouse with Napoleon Solo who interestingly does not get the love interest in the film, which is unusual given that he got the girl every week in the TV show. Instead its Kuryakin that gets a little bit of a love story involving Gaby who is played by Alicia Vikander.
The films story, which was co written by the films director Guy Richie and Lionel Wigram is the origin story for ‘Man From Uncle’ that the television show never had.
I enjoyed Armie Hammer’s portrayal of Kuryakin who is having to learn to master his temper. This is not the cool level headed Kuryakin as seen in the TV series, but could well be the starting point towards the character eventually getting there.
The back story for both Solo and Kuryakin were a nice touch.
The adversarial relationship between the two spies is fun to watch, but by the close of the film we see the beginnings of the friendship that was already established in the TV show.
In interviews Guy Richie has spoke of wanting to try and reproduce the look and feel of the early Bond films. Its fair to say that he succeeded in many ways. The car chase at the beginning of the film was a lot of fun to watch and taut with tension.
Also the clothes that the women got to wear throughout the movie were very much of the period.
I also tip my hat to composer Daniel Pemberton who came up with a full on foot tapping score for the movie, which fitted perfectly with both the period and the action.
The story was not outstanding, but it was good enough to serve the purpose of introducing the characters and bringing us some inkling of how UNCLE was formed and why. There was no reference to THRUSH as far as I could see, but there is time for that yet if the film spawns a few sequels.
A promising start perhaps for a new ‘Man From Uncle’ franchise. I’d certainly like to see a sequel to this. If only to see the relationship between the two spies evolve.
- Characters, Action & 1960s setting
- A Fairly Basic Story
- Incidental Music10