*** stars ****
Based on a 1960s TV show about a Russian and American spy who match wits against international baddies, Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a fun summer movie.
Henry Cavill (Superman in Man of Steel) plays Napoleon Solo, an American thief-turned-spy. At the film’s opening, he’s rescuing a defector (Alicia Vikander) from East Berlin despite the frighteningly dogged pursuit of KGB agent Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). But soon, everyone’s compelled to join forces to stop a renegade fascist organization from building a nuclear bomb.
U.N.C.L.E. does a lot of things right that modern movies do wrong. It has a good sense of humor and its fair share of laughs, but it doesn’t earn them by endlessly winking at the audience or pretending it’s cooler than its source material. The running time isn’t brief (116 minutes), but it avoids the excessive bloat that plagues many modern action films. The actors all do fine work. Cavill has a deft comic touch that he wasn’t allowed to show in the relentlessly dour Man of Steel. Hugh Grant has a funny, if too brief, supporting role as a British agent.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has a fast pace, laughs, engaging leads, and exotic locations - plenty to keep you entertained on a hot summer afternoon or evening.