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HENRY CAVILL & ARMIE HAMMER IN THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

2015 rating: ***
Unlike another spy franchise derived from the Cold War 1960's, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. television series is mostly regarded by those "in the know" as CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, played by Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, know what's needed for each and every semi-complicated scene, headlined by an ingenue who stretches beyond the love interest role: Everything is pretty much about Alicia Vikander's Gaby while the boys are along for the ride...

Actually, it is their vehicle... Especially Hammer's Illya, who gets his very own suspenseful closeup whenever on the verge of losing his cool. In fact, by the second half, much like The Avenger's Hulk, we're overly anticipating his crazy tantrums; wherein the MAN himself is more in the dark. Other than a Robert Vaughn cleft chin, what exactly does the American bring to the table to match his temperamental scene-stealing Russian sidekick?

Well he's perfectly suited, genuinely dapper, beds chicks like James Bond, and can speak all the dialogue, extra clearly. For even when a nuclear bomb plot goes occasionally haywire, and the characters are playfully treated as if we knew them much better (director Guy Ritchie in SHERLOCK HOLMES mode), Solo's there to guide us along the clever espionage/action despite being second... no, make that third... fiddle throughout.
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