The Man from U.N.C.L.E. review

Guy Ritchie warms up the Cold War with his deliberately retro pastiche of '60s spy movies

Having already reworked Conan Doyle's master detective for the bigscreen, director Guy Ritchie now turns his attention to the iconic figure of the gentleman spy with this cinematic 'reimagining' of the classic TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

When a couple of wealthy Nazi-sympathisers set about building their own nuclear weapon, suave thief-turned-CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Arnie Hammer) must put aside their rivalry and work together to stop to the plan. Joining them on their mission is Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander, below), the daughter of the German scientist building the weapon.

More of a prequel than a straight adaptation of the original series (it ends – spoiler alert! – with Solo and Kuryakin being reassigned to U.N.C.L.E.), Ritchie's film is a lightweight genre pastiche that happily coasts along on its gorgeous retro styling. It also helps that the cast have such terrific chemistry, particularly Cavill and Hammer who spark off one another brilliantly.

The plot is fairly inconsequential stuff, no matter how many double-, triple- or quadruple-crosses the scriptwriters introduce. As Summer blockbusters go, it's a curiously laid-back affair. But even so, we wouldn't be averse to joining this pair of spies on another mission.
Movie rating: 3.5/5

Picture: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. looks rather spiffy on Blu-ray. While there is a tendency towards teal and orange tinting during the opening sequence and a few scenes after that (which has the knock-on effect of making blacks look more like dark blues), on the whole the colour reproduction is first-rate.

The clarity and sharpness inherent in the platter's AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode also lends the visuals a pleasing sense of depth. Strong image definition also ensures that plenty of subtle textures and details are revealed in close-up shots.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. sports a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on Blu-ray, but if you have to stick with the core Dolby TrueHD mix then it's arguable that you won't miss out on much.

Outside of a helicopter flyover in Chapter 9 there's little use made of specific effects placement in the Atmos height plane. The sound designers tend to favour more generalised ambience, such as helping the music swell over you as the final attack on the compound gets under way (Chapter 10).

Thankfully, the rest of the speaker array gets a real workout, with constant use of the surrounds and a rich vein of LFE.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Bonus features are about as light and frothy as the film itself. All that's on offer are five brief Making of… featurettes and four (even shorter) behind-the-scenes vignettes.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: This spy flick looks as sharp as one of Napoleon Solo's tailored suits in high-definition

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Warner Bros., All-region BD, £25 approx