At first glance, one might be forgiven for assuming that this film is just a bit of 60s nostalgia, but this is American spy, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill — The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)) and Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer — Social Network) as you’ve never seen them before. Solo has a long list of fraud and theft charges behind him and has exchanged his services to escape jail time. Kuryakin is way more brawn than you might remember, although certainly not short on the smarts. Add to the mix a German spy working for the British, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander — Seventh Son, Testament of Youth, & Ex Machina), and the dynamics are explosive. On this, their first assignment together, truth and transparency are not at the top of their list of priorities. As a matter of fact, each will give the others up in order to complete the assignment to their government’s satisfaction.
Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) creates lots of action and gadgets that would do James Bond proud. It’s a new twist on a popular theme — a former Nazi scientist turns and works for the Americans post-war, but then, disappears, and the U.N.C.L.E. team (although that’s not their code name till the end of the show) has to find him, disarm the bomb, and retrieve the computer programme for the Americans. No, the Russians. No, the British. Well . . . it depends on which agent you are. First job for Solo is to go behind the cold war iron curtain and bring out Gaby — lots of wild chases in the dark, through the streets and alleys, through apartment buildings — and the pace is pretty consistent all the way through the movie.
Despite all the action, the film is a bit long (4 min. under 2 hours, so more than that by the time you sit through all the previews), and dragged a bit at times. I’m puzzled how that can be when there was so much that was very fast-paced, but drag it did — a bit — at times. None-the-less, it was a very enjoyable movie will keep you on the edge of your seat for most of the movie. At the end, they are heading off on a new assignment with their new code name, UNCLE, which hints that there may be more UNCLE movies to come. * * * *
If you want some real nostalgia, DVDs of the original television series with Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll are available to view online or to purchase, and the 8-movie collection is available in a boxed set from Amazon.