Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant (Rated M – 116 min).
Hollywood proves yet again that everything old is new again after several years of revolving casting candidates and director musical chairs including Quentin Tarantino once considering to make this jazzed up version of the classic spy television series that aired 105 episodes 1964-68. Fusing retro-chic of the swinging sixties with a contemporary environment gives this secret agent romp an edge that is both familiar and refreshing.
United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, code name U.N.C.L.E, is a mostly undercover global association to prevent criminal catastrophes overseen by a shady Hugh Grant in a rare big screen appearance.
British star and current Man of Steel Henry Cavill replaces the spandex with tailored suits as debonair intrepid Yank agent Napoleon Solo, he remains bemused and formidable when reluctantly partnering a KGB operative with serious rage issues on a mission to stop nuclear warfare.
Redeeming himself after The Lone Ranger debacle, Armie Hammer plays the Russian hothead with abrupt vigour maintaining rivalry and support for his new American comrade.
Backstories establish spy career opportunities to this point and ultimately the only fault in a sharp script. These two smooth actors showcase illustrious talent with great on screen chemistry as new chums with charming personality amongst the banter when avoiding gunfire. Sexual Innuendos galore would make Benny Hill proud but two women are actually strong counterparts for the boys with equally agile personalities.
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as an East German mechanic who also happens to be an evil heiress rises above the romp to become a lynchpin to the manic situations. Vibrant, towering Australian Elizabeth DeBicki (Great Gatsby) is old school glam dominating every scene in which she appears. Upbeat musical interludes add to the period ambience. Vintage clothes straight off the runway look amazing, classic automobiles and weaponry are also a highlight.
Former husband to Madonna queen of pop, Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrels) successfully stamps his usual not so serious take on colossal action montages including a riveting car chase. A random cameo from soccer maestro David Beckham may raise an eyebrow but rebooting the essence of the TV series with exotic European locations makes for an excellent diverting movie.
For an extra dose of fun, stay on for a post end credits moment.
Shane A. Bassett