A beloved TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was ripe for the big screen treatment especially after the immense success of another 60’s TV series, Mission Impossible. Starring Robert Vaughn as CIA agent Napoloen Solo and David McCallum as KGB operative Ilya Luryakin now working together at the height of the Cold War. U.N.C.L.E was an acronym for United Network Command for Law & Enforcement which was all perfectly splendid but were fighting against the far less fortunately named T.H.R.U.S.H which stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity” but surely must have been an in-joke by the writers. Nominated for Emmy’s and Golden Globes but never winning any it was a very popular series and a film finally came into being in 2015 helmed by our very own Guy Ritchie. Set in the same era it saw Henry Cavill as Solo and Armie Hammer as Ilya and were supported by a cast that included Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris and Hugh Grant.

1963: in the thick of the Cold War, roguish CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill, Mission: Impossible – Fallout) forms an uneasy alliance with brooding KGB officer Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name) to thwart a criminal organisation with apocalyptic intentions. The rebellious daughter of a missing nuclear scientist (Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina) is their only ticket inside the sinister ring – but to whom is she truly loyal? A desperate race against time will determine whether the scientist’s atomic research will shatter the delicate balance of power in the world.

It was Ritchie’s first feature film in four years after his Sherlock Holmes sequel and the film would see him take a step back from his usual bravura camera work instead focussing on set pieces that saw Hammer do many of his own stunts. It was also an origin story, something that the TV series did not do taking it that the organisation already existed.  Released as one of 2015’s summers blockbusters it was up against a rebooted Jurassic World, but also Bond film, Spectre and a fifth Mission Impossible film and let’s not forget the hugely anticipated ‘The Force Awakens’. Consequently it fared poorly at the box office earning only $110m off a modest £75m budget meaning that any sequel or hoped for franchise was unlikely.

Released now on 4k UHD BLU-RAY limited edition it has a number of bonus features that includes:

  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10/compatible)
    • Original lossless Dolby Atmos sound
    • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    • Brand new audio commentary by critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry
    • The Hollywood Way – brand new interview with co-writer/producer Lionel Wigram
    • A Lineage of Bad Guys – brand new interview with actor Luca Calvani
    • Legacy of U.N.C.L.E. – brand new featurette celebrating the original 1960s TV series and its influence on the 2015 movie, featuring Helen McCarthy, David Flint and Vic Pratt
    • Cockneys and Robbers – brand new featurette exploring director Guy Ritchie’s oeuvre, featuring Kat Hughes, Hannah Strong and Josh Saco
    • Spy Vision: Recreating 60s Cool, A Higher Class of Hero, Metisse Motorcycles: Proper and Very British, The Guys from U.N.C.L.E. and A Man of Extraordinary Talents – five archival featurettes exploring the making of the film
    • U.N.C.L.E.: On-Set Spy – four archival, bite-sized featurettes going behind the scenes on the film set
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Image gallery
    • Double-sided fold-out poster, featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative
    • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Barry Forshaw, and a reprinted article from CODEX Magazine on the film’s cinematography
    • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative

The issue with nearly all the extras is, apart from the interview with co-producer / writer Lionel Wigram it does very mush miss any input from Guy Ritchie and a decent ‘making of’ that isn’t the usual EPK. Instead we have a number of critics and experts.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is  certainly worth a second viewing but this is not one of Ritchie’s best and the bonus features disappoint.

related feature : Mission Impossible’s best stunts to make your jaw drop! .

related feature : British fight star Shaina West talks about her new brutal film, ‘Jade’ & working with Mark Dacascos

Here’s the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. trailer…….

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is released on 4KUHD on 29th July 2024


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