A well-tailored twosome hope for a relative success as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. arrives at Royston's Picture Palace
PUBLISHED: 21:53 13 October 2015
The surprising thing about this year's big screen reboot of 1960s TV favourite The Man From U.N.C.L.E is that it's taken so long for someone to green light the project.
Studios have been merrily ransacking that fecund small screen era for years – we’ve seen The Avengers, we’ve seen Batman in all sorts of shapes and sizes, we’ve even seen Thunderbirds hauled out and given a fresh coat of gloss – not to mention more missions impossible than you would have thought possible
So why have the supercool Napoleon Solo and his taciturn Russian sidekick Ilya Kuryakin been confined to the filing cabinets for so long?
It’s a poser, almost as imponderable as another question: How badly do these two leading men need a big hit?
Slipping in to Robert Vaughn’s suave shoes is nearly man Henry Cavill, whose chiselled features have been seen most prominently in the workmanlike but unspectacular Superman reboot Man Of Steel a couple of years back, and will soon be slipping on the spandex again for further Clark Kent adventures.
Before that he was best known for sword and scandals epic The Immortals and TV’s The Tudors, so he’s pretty much a stranger to a pair of strides when he steps in front of the camera.
Alongside him in another smartly-tailored suit is Armie Hammer, who was supposed to make his big leap from TV to superstardom in another big budget take on a one-time TV favourite.
You remember, The Lone Ranger. No, you do remember – the one with Johnny Depp in the ludicrous make-up and stupid headgear that wasn’t a pirate film. You do remember, it’s just like everyone else you are trying to forget.
So our stars had their fingers crossed when The Man From U.N.C.L.E. opened earlier this year, hoping some of the director’s stardust would rub off on them.
The director in question is Guy Ritchie, who has had ups and downs in his own career but is currently riding high on the back of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes success.
So is this affectionate update of the cult 1960s TV spy series – that’s how it was billed by the marketing department – any good?
It’s pitched as an action comedy with more tongue in cheek than tension, and to follow the lead of the title The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is O.K. but not much more.
It looks good, it moves along efficiently, but there’s not a great deal to draw you in.
It’s showing at Royston’s Picture Palace on Friday and Saturday night – visit www.roystonpicturepalace.org.uk for ticket details.