Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Man From UNCLE (3 Stars)

This is a difficult film for me to write about. I sat in the cinema watching it with my friends. It had good acting, fast action and a few pretty girls. And yet it didn't excite me. Something was missing. I can't quite figure out what it is. I wouldn't even criticise the story, as some other reviewers have done. Since the film is set in 1963 there's nothing wrong with making it about a nuclear bomb that has fallen into the wrong hands. That's a typical plot for a cold war era spy thriller. Why do something new?

Maybe my problem with the film is that I couldn't help comparing it with the original television series. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were so charismatic as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin that it's impossible to accept anyone else stepping into their shoes.

The best thing about the film is that it has sparked interest in the TV series. Until now it has never been made available on DVD in England. This month the first season was finally been released as a box set, 51 years after its first broadcast. I assume the other three seasons will follow soon.

One thing amused me in the film. At the beginning of the film Napoleon Solo goes to East Berlin to free Gaby Teller. They have a brief conversation in German, for which subtitles appear on the screen. Gaby tells Napoleon he has a strong American accent. That was ridiculous, as anyone who speaks German can verify. Napoleon Solo is played by Henry Cavill, a British actor. Gaby Teller is played by Alicia Vikander, a Swedish actress. Henry's German was surprisingly clear, and he could have passed for a German in short conversations. Alicia's spoken German was so bad that it was barely understandable. She could never pass for a German, and yet she was the one criticising him.

As you can see from the ticket, I was admitted free as a meerkat. Lucky me.

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