The Man from UNCLE

Film, Action and adventure
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)
The Man from UNCLE

Guy Ritchie gives 007 a run for his money with his reboot of the 1960s TV show

Guy Ritchie’s reboot of ‘The Man From UNCLE’ – the 1960s spy TV series that no one under 50 will remember – has a sunny, tongue-in-cheek vibe. Its Cold War Europe setting is less about paying homage to its vague influences (including Ian Fleming and John le Carré) and more of an excuse to embrace old-school city-hopping larks and sharply-suited 1960s adventure. It’s all pulp and no politics. This ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ prefers to giggle where the new-school James Bond would grimace, and to deliver a hearty backslap where le Carré would shoot his doomed characters in the back.

A familiar story of spies, disloyalty, twists, double-crossing and a nuclear plot to destroy the globe, the movie hops from Berlin to Rome, taking in other scenic European spots along the way. Henry Cavill’s American spy and Armie Hammer’s Eastern Bloc stooge team up, with Alicia Vikander in tow as a fellow traveller and Hugh Grant and Jared Harris playing backroom puppet-masters. It’s not quite teasing or knowing enough to be a spoof, which is lucky, as that old schtick can get tiring very quickly. But it’s not far off. This is a film that’s one step from winking at you mid-scene.

All this charm is a little surprising considering that on paper its trio of leads, Cavill, Hammer and Vikander, feel as charismatic as cardboard. As it turns out, the two men have an especially sharp rapport, something Ritchie previously conjured up between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in his Sherlock Holmes films. You wonder if this is what Ritchie is best at now: period action bromances set in cartoon-like worlds just enough removed from our own so that he doesn’t have to bother with subtlety (meaning the mangling of accents, for instance, doesn’t matter). He’s still not great with women – Vikander is a fun presence but ultimately pretty marginal, and at worst, marginal and pretty.

This is far from perfect. A late scene referencing the Nazi torturer-surgeon Josef Mengele is weirdly distasteful. Also, the movie enters an annoying hyped-up phase late in the game as the action takes over. But ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ has enough style and smarts to make it an amusingly louche summer movie: a cultivated mix of action and wit, suits and cities, that feels refreshingly analogue in a digital world. The confidence of the final scene suggests there’s more to come too – which is more than fine by us.


Release details

Release date:
Friday August 14 2015
116 mins

Cast and crew

Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie, Jeff Kleeman
Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer
Alicia Vikander

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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Staff Writer

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this film version of a classic TV series, however, very pleasantly surprised. It had a distinctly 60s feel, tongue in cheek humour about it, the storyline was fairly predictable but definitely entertaining. Don't be put off watching it, but don't go in with any expectations either, enjoy!


Quite an entertaining film, but missing a strong storyline.  The characters were good , but it reminded me more of an episode of Hustle than a feature film.  I got the feeling that the film was just to introduce you to the characters ready for the main franchise sure to be coming.

Worth going to see if there's not much else on at the cinema, but I wouldn't put it top of the priority list.

A fun, frothy spy adventure packed with gorgeous 60s period detail and a fine odd-couple pairing in Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.


I loved it. That may be because practically all the actors are great eye candy. But I love their version of the 60's, the clothes and all. I was dying to buy new earrings the second I left the movies. The accents are a tiny bit off, but I was impressed by some of their German and Italian. Speaking both, I get annoyed by that easily. The Italian actors in small roles actually were all Italian, I think all films should do that. The action scenes were quite funny. I loved the part with the boat (that's all I'm giving away!). The soundtrack was great too. Just a fun evening out, but somehow relaxed too. 


I had few high expectations for this movie but I was very pleasantly surprised. Set in the glamorous 60's the wardrobe was a dream and perfectly put together. Henry Cavil was actually funny and together with his 6ft 6 partner, it was pure comedy without the try hard factor. Action pact and still glamorous, a great watch!


This film was brilliant! Loved every second.

It had everything, two attractive me , a sexy, powerful woman, great characters, car chases, fight scenes, good plot, bit of interesting history... So much to like.

Take it for what it is, a fun, action packed film with a interesting plot and the second set up ready to relive it all again. A fun date film!


Really entertaining movie, evening well spent!

The chemistry between the 3 main characters is really good.

The movie is action packed and although its meant to be similar to the James Bond movies I see it with the type of action/comedy that you can find in the Avengers movie. 

moderatorStaff WriterTastemaker

The film comes with great 60's style and is a good reboot of the original series. Not certain that Henry Cavill matches up to a young Robert Vaughn, but he tries hard. Overall an enjoyable evening's entertainment.

Even judged against my moderate expectations, this was a fantastically boring film.

The sixties period detail is loving recreated. The clothes, cars and music are all great. It's just a shame the same attention was paid to the crushingly dull story.

This big screen reboot may still have survived if there'd been some spark in the odd couple spy pairing. Unfortunately, Cavill and Hammer have as much onscreen chemistry as two shop window mannequins.

It all makes for a rather hollow experience. 

Sexy. Funny. Cool. A solid 9/10 for directorial brio and style.  And (sorry Tom) much better than MI5.