The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – Say ‘U.N.C.L.E’ on this one

  • ST. LOUIS — “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was first produced as a television show in the 1960s and should have stayed in the ’60s.Set in 1963, at the height of the Cold War, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” centers on the relationship of American agent Napoleon Solo, (Henry Cavill) and Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin, (Armie Hammer). The two are forced to put aside longstanding hostilities to team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the production of nuclear weapons.

    The duo’s only lead is Gaby Teller, the daughter of a kidnapped German scientist played by Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization. They must race against time to find Teller’s father and prevent a worldwide catastrophe. Elizabeth Debicki, of “The Great Gatsby” fame, stars as the villain. Hugh Grant makes a cameo in the role of Mr. Waverly.

    Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram wrote the script, which has some funny moments and some witty dialogue, but it rambles and drags in the beginning. The action was nothing we haven’t seen before. It got better as the movie went on — if you were still awake. Richie, Madonna’s ex, directed “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

    A plus in watching “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is, it’s packed with gorgeous eye candy! The two lead actors are absolutely beautiful men and the two leading ladies aren’t bad either, but unfortunately, that is the highlight of this remake of the 1960s’ television series.

    One of the problems with the film is that the writers didn’t live through most of the sixties. They don’t get it… Ritchie wasn’t born until 1968.

    In the movie, the information about how to make a nuclear weapon is stored on a four-inch computer disc that our heroes’ try to capture. In the ‘60s, only IBM had a computer disk for one of its massive computers and the disk was as big as a refrigerator — which is a little tough for a guy to carry around in his pocket. It is obvious that the writers should have spent more time researching the 1960s. I don’t know why they set it in the 1960s in the first place; they should have joined the “Mission Impossible” bandwagon and updated it to present day.

    It’s time Hollywood start producing movies that are based on good original stories instead of depending on remakes and comic book characters. We don’t need nostalgia — we need good stories.

    Upon leaving I asked numerous people what they thought of the movie. Most of the viewers under age 35 seemed to like the movie; but, the older crowd thought it was disjointed and felt that the technology and costumes were not realistic. Only one woman said she loved it. One gentleman said it was the worst movie he has seen all summer.

    “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” opens Friday at the AMC Edwardsville Showplace 12.

    The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at