Auto Culture

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Is Your Cool Car Film Of 2015


“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” released in movie theaters last week and yes – you can both see and like it if you remember the 1960’s television series upon which it was based or because of the Guy Ritchie-infused action sequences or because of any of the three main stars [Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer or Henry Cavill] – but if you really want to go see it, then you must use as Reason 1A, the cars from the 1960’s that Ritchie used in the film, virtually all of them meeting the criteria of cool.

First things first – the title uncle stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement – a kind of balky 1960’s way of saying good guy spies. Unfortunately, the bad guys in the movie did not adopt the bad guy organization name from the television series because it is a good one – THRUSH [which stands for, prepare yourself – Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and Subjugation of Humanity – it doesn’t get any better in spy circles than that]. Essentially, what we have here is a James Bond-like situation where we have a Russian version of the current Daniel Craig-ized James Bond [played by Hammer] paired with a Roger Moore version of James Bond [played by Cavill] with Vikander tossed in as their female equivalent and all three being bossed around by Hugh Grant in the quintessential “M” role. [Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Stephanie Powers and Leo Carroll played these roles in the original television series].

The Trabby-Wartburg duel at the beginning of the film.

The Trabby-Wartburg duel at the beginning of the film.

In one of the best moves made by Ritchie, rather than attempting to modernize the plot, the film keeps its 1960’s roots and that works out well all the way around – from snarky dialogue to fashion to music and best of all, to cars. In fact, the opening scene features a 1966 Wartburg going at it with a Trabant [alas, not a 1960’s version, but rather, a 1984 Trabby] in a Berlin-based car chase that was sped up because, let’s face it, a genuine car chase involving these cars would have taken up the entire time allotted to the film. Aside from that minor quibble along with a few others [like the word “pussy” not likely being part of the early 1960’s lexicon], the film is a winner all the way around and while car candy is everywhere, Ritchie goes above and beyond with a full and lengthy scene filmed at Goodwood and featuring many classic race cars as well as normal fancy pants cars.

Being a notorious hard grader, Auto Sports Nation bestows a lofty 8 on a scale of 1-10 for “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and we can only hope there will be a sequel that they obviously were prepping for with that ending…

The original TV series even had its own car - the Piranha.

The original TV series even had its own car – the Piranha.

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