Say U.N.C.L.E.

    More stories from Rut Ortiz

    McNair Scholars Program
    October 31, 2017

    Warner Bros.

    Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill, left) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer, right) form an unlikely odd couple.

    Berlin, Germany, 1960s, the Cold War. The heightened tensions in a post World War II world between America and the Soviet Union are an inevitable pathway to destruction. The Berlin Wall has been built and the west side of Germany is American occupied while the east side is occupied by the USSR.


    Enter Napoleon Solo (played by Henry Cavill), a US soldier turned criminal turned CIA spy, mostly because if he didn’t, the CIA would put him in prison for his offenses as a criminal. He’s the perfect embodiment of how Americans were perceived when the United States first entered into international affairs. He’s confident to the point of arrogance, partly smug and a little reckless. But it helps that he is a tall, handsome, blue-eyed brunette. Yeah, he’s that guy.


    There’s a car chase right off the bat. A pretty exciting one too: With teeny cars striking through historic cobblestone streets where you meet Solo’s KGB counterpart: Illya Kuryakin (played by Armie Hammer). This guy is not only taller than Cavill; he’s stronger and faster too. Yeah. He’s also that guy.


    I sat in the theater literally thinking: “Where on earth did the talent scouts find Armie Hammer and is it legal for him and Cavill to be this ridiculously good-looking?”


    They each have their assignment — to assassinate the other.


    The story starts predictably enough until the development of an unintentional semi-bromance occurs.


    Hold on. There’s a girl in the middle.


    There always is.


    And her father — a German scientist thought to be a Nazi — is the only lead to saving the world from a nuclear bomb. Why?


    Because he designed it.


    But the girl is not who she says she is…and the two spies are not pitted against each other over her affections; which impressed me. Take that every other movie starring two guys and one girl.


    There is plenty of suspense in the film to keep the viewer on edge but this odd couple (referring to the bromance) brought various scenes that were actually very funny. So it wasn’t all action and drama, there was a light touch of comedy in the film although that’s not advertised.


    A surprising appearance by Hugh Grant, who played Alexander Waverly, the British leader comparable to whom Cavill and Hammer’s characters would call “boss.” His addition created the triangular effect of three superpowers-American, Russian and British-on screen fighting for the same purpose.


    The movie is one hour and 56 minutes long, which is about the average time for a movie to last these days. But it’s not difficult to sit through, thankfully.


    I was unaware that this movie is an adaptation of a T.V. series from the ‘60s by the same name. Savvier viewers about television during that decade would know a detail like that. Hopefully the silver screen version did the television series some justice.