Sunday, 26 May 2013

Man from Uncle: How to Steal the World (3½ Stars)

This is one of the feature films made by editing together two episodes from the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." television series. As fans of the series probably know, it was intended to be a television version of the James Bond films. It succeeded in this goal. It was weekly spy action with nifty high-tech gadgets and a splash of sexy action from the main character, Napoleon Solo. Yes, I deliberately call him the main character, even though his partner Illya Kuryakin is remembered as being his equal. I don't see it this way. In the early episodes of the first series Napoleon often appeared alone, or with Illya as a minor supporting character. Due to Illya's popularity he was upgraded to equal status in the opening credits. However, if you watch the episodes you can see that he is the sidekick, only occasionally being allowed to make decisions.

The film involves a scheme by seven scientists, supposedly the seven most brilliant men on Earth. They have a plan to eliminate war by covering the world with a "docility gas" that will make everyone peaceful. A noble goal. Unfortunately, unknown to the idealistic scientists, Thrush (the evil organisation which is Uncle's nemesis) has financed their operation and plans to benefit from it by being the world's masters.

While the film isn't too bad in itself, the series was intended for weekly television episodes and should have been left as such. At some point I would like to add the "Man from Uncle" tv series to my DVD collection, but it's still too expensive. I'm hoping there will be a cheaper edition at some point in the future.

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