Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

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


I had forgotten just how popular this series was. According to Wiki it lasted only four seasons, and for some inexplicable reason they decided to tamper with it after the second season, turning it into more of a comedy than a drama. Fans stayed away in droves, and it was cancelled. I can’t recall ever seeing it, but one of my best friends was just obsessed with David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin. He wanted to be Ilya. Amazingly, there were eight U.N.C.L.E. movies released theatrically, and they were just TV episodes padded out with extra action footage! There were no less than twenty-four paperback novels.

My expectations were low, which always helps with an action movie like this. I figured it would be wall-to-wall improbable action, the director trying to outdo everybody else this year with one chase after another. While there is action, is it relatively restrained. They wisely set it in 1963, so they didn’t have to tinker at all with the Cold War premise. And they consciously made it look retro, in the filming and the scenery and most of all, in the crazy Carnaby Street fashions worn by Alicia Vikander, the Swedish girl who recently made a splash in Ex Machina. And Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, does a pretty good and amusing job of imitating Robert Vaughn’s cool, detached voice. Armie (The Lone Ranger) Hammer does an okay job as Ilya. It really is a trip into the past. While I wouldn’t precisely recommend it, I have to admit I had a reasonably good time.