“I was briefed on your criminal career. Your balls are on the end of a very long leash, held by a very short man.”
For a couple of years and a couple of movies, no one did movie cool better than Guy Ritchie. Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels has to be one of the most confident directorial debuts ever made. Then Snatch took that confidence and cool to a bigger, better level. After shitting the bed with Swept Away and Revolver, he had a brief bounce back with RocknRolla, which was OK, but was nothing more than a rehashing of his first two movies. Then, we lost Ritchie to the world of Hollywood franchises as he made two Sherlock Holmes movies. And it seems that big budget, franchise world is where he’s determined to stay, with The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
In cold war Berlin, ex master criminal, current CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) undertakes a covert operation into the Russian controlled East Berlin to rescue Gaby (Alicia Vikander). The daughter of an alleged Nazi scientist who has since started working with the Americans, Gaby could be the key to some bad guys getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Solo’s extraction of Gaby is almost thwarted by KBG agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). So it’s a shock for both men when they find out the next day that they are now partners. The nuclear technology of Gaby’s father is so dangerous and so valuable, the Americans and Russians have decided to team up to protect it.
Here’s the thing about The Man From U.N.C.L.E, it’s all style, no substance, and I think it’s kind of proud of that. The story is nothing short of ludicrous, and I think the movie is more than OK with that too. It’s all just an excuse to put Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander in awesome looking 60s fashions, and to have them wear them in awesome looking, exotic locations. It’s a style of flashy movie making that Guy Ritchie does well, and once I accepted that The Man From U.N.C.L.E was nothing more than flashy fun, I enjoyed it more than I was waiting for it to be anything more than that.