Teller’s mission is to contact her father, a former Nazi scientist who has been kidnapped and forced to build a nuclear weapon. Due to the horrific nature of the situation, the US and Soviet Union work together, forcing Solo and Kuryakin to become partners.
This movie, written by director Guy Ritchie and Harry Potter producer Lionel Wigram, captures the mod sixties but doesn’t have a clever enough story to be noteworthy. The plot steals from every Buddy film since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
The partnership of an American and Russian agent was better handled in the Bond hit The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Elements of Gaby Teller can be found in many Bond heroines, including From Russia With Love’s (1963) Tatiana Romanova and Thunderball’s (1965) Domino Vitali.
Even the slick, stylish villainess Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki) is minor compared to Bond femme fatales Fatima Blush (played in Never Say Never Again (1983) by Barbara Carrera) and Fiona Volpe (played in Thunderball by Luciana Paluzzi). Though she has that cool cat voice and nonchalance when committing atrocious crimes, she becomes an ancillary villain, one easily dispatched.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is reminiscent not only of Bond and Mission Impossible but also this summer’s sleeper hit Spy. That Bond spoof, starring Melisa McCarthy in her best role, captures the themes, humor and action that U.N.C.L.E lacks with a cast more game than the one found here.
Jonas Schwartz is a voting member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics, and the West Coast Critic for TheaterMania. Check out his “Jonas at the Movies” reviews at Maryland Nightlife.