Never Heard Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Until Recently

I am an obsessive horror fan of movies, series, books, and anything entertaining. After all, I’m the creator of Gothic Bite Magazine! But recently, I saw a YouTube video that caught my attention. So, here’s my review.

You Don’t Have To Read This But Yes, Read It!

WARNING!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!
MATURE AUDIENCES: All my articles are for adults.
TRIGGERS: Mild Torture | Blood | 

This is a review with some spoilers of the spy action movie from 2015, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I just found out the film existed recently. I am aware of the critiques and how they were received, but I ignore them. The worse they review, the more I want to watch.

With that said, this is a personal and subjective article. Everyone is free to think whatever they want for movies. That is why there are so many! But if you plan on watching the movie, I recommend skipping this article! YOU ARE WARNED!

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. — Official Trailer — 2015

Official Summary From IMDb

In the 1960s, with the Cold War in play, CIA agent Napoleon Solo successfully helped Gaby Teller defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin

Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together on a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby’s father’s scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. 

Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas.

How Does A Horror Fan Stumble Upon A 2015 Spy Movie Set In The 60s?

I minded my business, scrolling through Pinterest, looking for inspiration. One horror movie I enjoy is Blood Creek from 2009, featuring Henry Cavill. As a huge Hellraiser fan, I recently reviewed Hellraiser: Hellworld from 2005, which also featured Cavill.

It must have communicated with YouTube as a brief clip from a game with the main actors from a movie. I was curious to know which one it was. But I recognized Henry Cavill and watched it. It was only a three-minute video. Why not?

Movieclips Action — Tag It! Game

I mentioned the clip to three friends, two of whom watched it. The verdict was in, and it was rough. They said the same exact things. The movie is boring, the acting is horrible, I couldn’t watch it in one shot, I stopped after five minutes, and so on!

It got me curious. What kind of abomination did Cavill and Hammer make? Can a movie have these many negative characteristics about it? 

Damn! I do not follow Hollywood or any movie platform. I do not follow celebrities and couldn’t care less about reviews and critiques. But those are people I love and care about. They got me curious! So, let’s dive in, shall we?

My Summary Of This Spy Action Comedy Movie!

We are in the sixties, in the era of the Berlin wall after the war, and an American CIA agent must team up with a Russian KGB agent to save the world nonetheless. Through the help of a young German woman related to a scientist capable of building a nuclear warhead, they help her remain free, but also she proves to be some level of trouble.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Meanwhile, our two agents aren’t getting along, but not so much that they can’t find themselves to help one another when needed. The pair is sometimes a little clumsy, but get the job done by infiltrating the one place where they can find what they are looking for. Little did they know they would get double-crossed and assigned the same mission, kill your partner if you must.

My Overall Thoughts On The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

I was in bed, all cosy in my big comforter and couldn’t fall asleep. That’s when I decided it was time for me to give that movie a try. I put on my wireless headphones and watched it on my phone. My expectations were double-locked in a box a mile below the Grand Canyon. I was expecting a hot mess mixed with total nonsense and a smell of garbage.

The movie starts with a quick opening before they throw us into a car chase, which is quite impressive. There was no beating around the bush. From the beginning, one can tell it’s a spy action comedy. The dialogue and delivery are sarcastic and sometimes exaggerated, despite focusing on the action scenes.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The stunts are well-made, and I wanted to know more as the story progressed. Of course, I’m a horror fan, so the ‘torture’ scene was my favourite, as well as the fights between our two agents. I often thought about the old James Bond 007 movies from its beginning to Pierce Brosnan‘s 007 movies. It had that vibe to it, but in high resolution.

Gadgets, era, a mission to accomplish, over-the-top villains, femme fatale, the whole recipe for an old Bond movie. The truth is, I grew up watching those with my grandpa, and there are lovely memories. So, I couldn’t be entirely objective when watching The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Everyone Is Portraying A Different Nationality

We have Armie Hammer, an American actor playing a Russian. We have Alicia Vikander, a Swedish actress playing a German woman mechanic. Elizabeth Debicki, a French actress of Polish and Australian heritage, plays an Italian woman. Basically, nobody is acting according to their nationality, and it’s refreshing!

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

They are actors: professional pretend players, and they did it well! All of them did a fantastic job. They kept me focused on what was happening and what would happen next. The proof is that none of them took me out of the story.

I enjoyed the variety in the nationalities, sometimes exaggerated a little, but not to the point of offending anyone. It was well done and thought out. The details in the clothing and the way they carried themselves seemed proper, with the entire vibe going on. It is also relatively easy to separate the social classes by their words and posture. All in the details!

Maybe A LIttle Less Bond A Little More Columbo?

So, what about our other leading agent? Well, that’s an entirely different story. I couldn’t stop laughing. Henry Cavill plays the American CIA agent who, of course, has no trouble with the ladies. Excellent. Very 60s, very on point with the vibe going on.

However, we know Cavill is British from England. Simply put, he came out more as a British Spy than an American Spy. He had more British characteristics to his overall portrayal than an American attitude and personality. Too old-time James Bond-ish for my taste.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

With that said, I will not lie. Cavill often switched between his natural speech to an American accent, sometimes in the same sentence. It was like he couldn’t pick a lane and stick with it. Did it turn me off? No. It entertained me.

Man of Steel came out in 2013, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. came out in 2015. I laughed not at Cavill’s performance but at how I was easily fooled when he played Superman. He was an American actor, I thought! I watched other movies with him in it, like The Cold Light Of Day, and his American accent is on point. I was baffled!

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

It made me wonder why he had a hard time in that movie portraying an American. If it wasn’t for his accent, which was all over the place, his acting of an overly sophisticated agent was a bit much for my taste. Again, a very old Bond style for me.

Hammer and Cavill make a good team on screen, though! There are many scenes where Cavill delivers his stunts and lines perfectly! It’s really just in specific spots that it comes out too 007.

The Action And Comedy Of A Spy Movie

I have four favourite scenes. The movie flies by fast, and despite going at a good pace, the action and story move on rapidly. One step in the mission is over, and we’re on to the next without interruption. 

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

If you’re looking for romance? This isn’t the place, although there is a suggestion between Illya, our Russian killer, and Gaby, the German niece of the scientist.

It is a fast-delivery movie with a simple plot but with a double twist. With that said, let’s get into my favourite scenes and why I enjoyed them!

The Epicness Of Four Scenes!

FAVOURITE SCENE

The car chase at the beginning sets the tone for the movie. I don’t care that a professional driver drove for the leading woman, Gaby. The point is that it was a woman driving! The car chase is incredible, and the way Solo, our CIA agent, is calm and knows exactly what to do and when to do it is perfect.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

If you’re going to watch only one scene from the movie, watch the beginning, i.e., the entire car chase!

SECOND FAVOURITE SCENE

The mild torture is happening on Solo. As a horror fan, I liked it. But sadly, because it’s a PG-13 movie—which I usually avoid at all costs, there is no sadistic ‘Saw-ing’ of Cavill here. Not that I would want him to be ‘Saw-ed!’ but I so wish to see him in another horror movie! He is sooo good at those! If you want to see Cavill take a beating, be my guest; it might make you smile.

Back to the movie’s torture scene, it’s mild torture holding Solo in a Frankenstein-esque electric chair device. The tormentor is, again, Bond-ish, an ex-‘Yahtzee’ from World War II executioner through torture. 

Think of him as a Spanish Inquisition dungeon master. He gives his exposition on his life until Illya, our KGB agent, saves Solo from his torture. So, yes, he is electrocuted. He came to Solo’s rescue when he was about to get his teeth removed with pliers? Or am I too horror for the movie?

That sequence in the movie is one of the best in delivery and humour. It is worth the watch!

THIRD FAVOURITE SCENE

The fight in a circular public bathroom between Solo and Illya. This was amazing! I loved it! It was like two lions fighting over dinner. It was excellent. They went at it convincingly! I was expecting Solo to win. But no, the Russian had Solo in a headlock, which made me smile. I couldn’t help but think of the Rocky IV movie!

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Seriously, at one point, I was like, “Damn! Loosen your grip a little, Cavill’s turning blue!” It was convincing and acted in a way that has you invested at the moment. The choreography was well-calculated, with each toilet stall getting demolished as they fought. They finish on the floor, which is a little gross but outstanding!

FOURTH FAVOURITE SCENE

This scene occurs when Solo and Illya try to find uranium and escape. When outside the facility, Illya takes a boat to escape, and Solo jumps in. Zigzagging to avoid being shot at, Solo gets overboard and swims to the deck. 

He climbs out of the water and gets into a truck. Solo finds the keys by lowering the sunblock panel and looks to his side. A picnic basket has a bottle of wine, fruits, and a sandwich that he can’t resist.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

What do I like about it? They attack Illya on the boat, and Solo casually eats a sandwich. He’s soaking wet in a stupid truck, watching everything without giving two flying fucks about it. The nonchalance is hilarious. 

It is funny that I can’t buy Cavill’s puppy eyes while looking at the scene. You know he’d help. Of course, Solo does help by driving the truck into the water, providing cover to get Illya out of the water.

Some Scenes Are Harder To Watch

We are in the sixties, and I understand women didn’t have as much liberty. But when Solo and Illya are in a women’s clothing store deciding on an outfit for Gaby, there is confusion on my part. I had great difficulty buying the ‘I know what a woman should wear’ vibe from those two actors. They didn’t seem to be the type to know that at all.

Also, because I’m a woman, I was like, ‘I’m not a ‘Barbie Girl in a Barbie world.’ Also, the outfits they both pick? Yikes! Later, in a trivia section about the movie, I learned it was a nod to the original television series where Illya is some designer.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The women’s roles are empowering roles, villain or not. We get a strong vibe from them. I appreciated that in the movie because it’s not forced but natural. The chemistry between Gaby and Illya is adorable, while the femme fatale and villain, Victoria, is also impressive in her performance.

What did I not like? It was the constant explanation of Solo’s actions. He needed to narrate his life; every move was strange. It didn’t come out well because it’s equivalent to someone speaking of themselves in the third-person. It’s not realistic. If delivered in a Columbo manner, it might have been better.

My Rating Of The Spy Action Comedy

First, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is the creation of Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond. Yes, obviously, some resemblances and vibes collide. You can’t escape it. But the set of actors made it their own, and it’s a cool watch. Fun fact: Cavill is 6’1″ or 1 m. 85, and yet, everyone appears like giants around him. The reason is that Solo was 5’10” in the original series.

It’s a good, light, turn-your-brain-off type of movie. It’s just fun to watch. Just press play and enjoy the ride. Really, it’s funny and retro in a good way. The delightful scenes outweigh the bad ones, for sure.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The ending suggested a sequel or an end if nothing would come out of it. Because the movie didn’t make enough at the box office, there was no plan for a sequel. For me, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is underrated. The film is a comedy, and I don’t think people got that from the trailer.

If you’re an 80s baby or before, you’ll see traces of your childhood in it. You’ll recognize the storyline and vibes if you’re from the series‘ era. There’s something for everyone to enjoy as long as you don’t take it seriously. It’s not a thriller or a hardcore movie. It’s just entertaining and light.

I took it and watched it for what it was supposed to be: action, sarcasm, and retro. I enjoyed it way more than I disliked it. My expectations were so low that I liked it more than I anticipated. So, enjoy it if you want to give it a shot! For what it is, I would give it a 7 out of 10.

Lex

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