An excerpt from my script review for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) which will be available 05/04/20:

2.) Plot Stability

A buddy spy film with a lot of clichés.

The first part of that statement I truly enjoyed. It was fun seeing two Cold War adversaries constantly trying to one up each other in the setting of an action film.

The gadgets. The different styles. Knowing that these opposites would eventually attract and come to respect each other.

There was a “fun and games” break-in around page 61 where the idea of scalpel vs. hammer is used as an analogy for the two men’s differences.

Very fun…once the spies got to doing the spy stuff.

It was also cool how this was more or less an origins story for U.N.C.L.E.

Before we switch to the parts I didn’t really care for, there were two twists that did work and I wanted to mention.

First was the scene where Ilya couldn’t give away that he was a KGB agent, so he’s forced to let two goons beat the shit out of him and lose his father’s watch. A severe blow to his pride in front of a woman he’s trying to impress.

Second was the ending “twist within a twist” where Solo uses the decoy missile to stop the real one. Don’t want to spoil too much of the “how” since it makes for a fun close.

These portions all worked, and overall the script was a fun read.

(I’d have even rented the film on Amazon, but refuse to pay even $4 during the quarantine where everything should be available on one of the many streaming services the boss signs us up for!)

What didn’t really work, and got boring, were the clichéd bits that felt cherry picked right out of a Bond film.

A “fighting school” inside this menacing shipping company office?

The bad guy having a private island with a fort?

Our hero being strapped to a torture chair forced to listen to the bad guy drone on?

Gaby being the third secret agent?…

I know the original show was during the same heyday as the Bond films, but c’mon…if you’re going the reboot route you should actually go the other direction and play our assumptions against us.

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