John Steed and his new accomplices Purdey and Gambit find themselves facing new and deadly dangers in the bizarre world of espionage. Mixing fantasy with a darker edge, the trio face ... See full summary »
Complex, involved science-fiction series about a special force of interdimensional operatives whose task is to protect the universe from evil forces trying to gain a foothold by disrupting ... See full summary »
The criminal organization THRUSH steals the A-bomb H957 and demands $350,000,000 to be delivered within 72 hours by their former antagonist Solo. So U.N.C.L.E. has to reactivate the super agents Solo and Kuryakin after they were 15 years out of business. Equipped in the usual 007 fashion they start to seek the villains. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Gerald Fried's score contains a pastiche of 'The James Bond Theme' from James Bond film series when George Lazenby's character 'JB' makes his appearance. George Lazenby had played James Bond in the 1969 official production On Her Majesty's Secret Service. See more »
When Solo and Kuryakin meet up in New York, they take a walk in the streets. Near the end of the sequence, after Kuryakin hits Solo, very tall palm trees can be seen in the reflection in the window. See more »
Those super-agents of the spy-era "Man from U.N.C.L.E." Robert Vaughn & David McCallum reteam in this 1983 sequel, reprising their characters admirably & accurately, but the overall tone of this (one of the earliest of the TV "reunion" movies) falls flat. The scripting and helming fail to match the jaunty tongue-in-cheekness of the original, despite screenplay credit by series-creator Sam Rolfe, and regrettably it lacks any hint of the original hep score by Fried & Goldsmith.
The plot is predictable and typical of the '60s series: U.N.C.L.E.-vs-THRUSH, with an innocent bystander conscripted into the fray. But beyond the two leads, nothing remains of the original U.N.C.L.E. mythos. By 1983 the MGM backlot had been bulldozed for a condo development, so this was shot entirely on location -- even the interiors. The result feels a little too raw to recreate the fantastical "U.N.C.L.E." franchise. And sadly, the production design ditched the sleek steel-panel walls of the original headquarters, the cute miniskirted G3s and the gee-whiz technology that made the show such fun. It would seem the old HQ "somewhere in the east '40s" was boarded up some years back (perhaps a downsizing?) and operations moved to new offices that smack of a modest corporation somewhere in Wisconsin, with cheap wood panelling and fluorescent overheads and the full "United Network Command for Law and Enforcement" emblazoned billboard-size on the hallway walls; apparently U.N.C.L.E. has moved heavily into branding these days). In fact, the only recognizable elements reprised from the series are the pen-radio, the briefing-room TV sequence and a few blinking "old-world" computer consoles which must have been languishing in the prop warehouse since the Nixon Administration.
The shtick of this remake is that the current staff of U.N.C.L.E. comprises vanilla-bland PC yuppies fresh out of prep school, to a man possessing none of the silky suaveness of Napoleon Solo, and the entire agency seems to have a bureaucratic malaise hanging over it. Perhaps with good reason: the international terrorist agency, THRUSH, is said to have been disbanded some years ago. My feeling watching this setup was that with Waverly gone, and without a worthy adversary, U.N.C.L.E. had lost its way.
But suddenly, unexpectedly, THRUSH rears up Phoenix-like, precipitating Solo's return to the fold...where he finds himself very much a fish out of water (a riff used, perhaps more effectively, some years later by Pierce Brosnan in "The World Is Not Enough" in which JB's predatory sexual mores clash with the PC feminism of the late 20th century).
Patrick McNee ("John Steed" of the Avengers) has been drafted to replace the late Leo G. Carroll in a clever bit of cross-casting, and there's a cameo by an even earlier "Bond," but otherwise the show is unremarkable. Our aging heroes, drawn out of civilian retirement (explained for Ilya, but not for Solo), start out making a few slips what with being so long out of practice, but they're still in reasonable shape and eventually find their old groove. Both see lots of action, toss off many witty comments & wind up regaining to a comfortable camaraderie. Curiously, it's never explained what kept them out of touch through the years (had there a falling out, maybe over a woman?), nor is it ever made clear why top-agent Solo didn't get promoted to an admin position within U.N.C.L.E. (perhaps even to succeed Waverly?), and what events led to the ultimate demise of THRUSH years back.
Technically, the show is low-budget with a heavy '70s kitsch (film stock quality is marginal, typical of the era, with lots of stock footage -- one clip through an airplane window shows unprocessed blue-screen!). The audio is poorly dubbed in places, with lots of distracting background noise. The stuntwork is pedestrian: a few cars get rolled "A-Team" style, dazed henchman stumbling from the wrecks; a villain dangles precariously from a helicopter skid, but only a few inches from the ground; an U.N.C.L.E. swat team rappels down Boulder Dam, a supered title identifying it as "Somewhere In Syria." This was a made-for-TV movie and everywhere it definitely shows up as made on the cheap.
Come to think of it, though, that was the perverse charm of the '60s series, a four-year romp through cheeseboard sets and cheap pyrotechnics. This sequel may ring more true to the series than I originally gave it credit.
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