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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Superspies Unite!

It looks like 2015 is going to be a good year for the superspy genre.  We just had Kingsman: The Secret Service, which had a good time embracing and lampooning the cliches of the genre.  And I thought it was pretty darn good.  This Christmas, we get the original superspy, James Bond, returning in Spectre.  And this summer, two pretty sharp looking films in the genre.

The first up is The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  Based on the classic 1960s TV series of the same name (which was created with input from James Bond's creator, Ian Flemming), it follows the secret agency UNCLE, a multi-national task force established to take down threats to the entire world.  The primary threat:  THRUSH, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

Our heroes are the dashing and heroic CIA agent Napoleon Solo, and the enigmatic KGB agent Illya Kuryakin.  Of course, as this show was released in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, depicting the CIA and the KGB working together was quite groundbreaking.

This new movie version had been in development for quite some time.  Guy Ritchie, who brought us the legendary British crime films Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and also the Robert Downy Jr Sherlock Holmes films, is directing.  Solo is played by the current big screen Superman, Henry Cavill.  His partner Kuryakin is played by the current big screen Lone Ranger, Armie Hammer.

Here's the trailer!

I'm digging this trailer.  Given the now kinda dated premise, it was a good idea to set it in 1963.  Looks like with Solo and Kuryakin they're going with a "buddy cop" formula, depicting them as professional rivals who are forced to work together.  And is just me, or does the American accent/voice that Cavill adopts for Solo make him sound kinda like Christopher Reeve?  (Cavill is British, in case you didn't know.)

The Man from UNCLE comes out on August 14.

Also coming out this summer, Tom Cruise gives us the latest installment in his Mission: Impossible franchise.  Man o man, can you believe this franchise has almost been going for 20 years?  The first one came out way back in 1996....

As I've blogged before, the Mission: Impossible franchise is one I want to like, but I always find the films kind of lacking.  I remember enjoying the hell out of the first two when I first saw them, but I barely remember them.  I have yet to see the third one, although I'm curious to see what JJ Abrams' reboot was like, because I'm one of the few trekkies who thought he did a good job rebooting Star Trek.  But I did enjoy Ghost Protocol, mainly because I adore the work of director Brad Bird.

This fifth installment has been given the title Rogue Nation, and to direct it, Cruise recruited Christopher McQuarrie, no doubt because they had a good working relationship on Jack Reacher.  And trying to forge some continuity in this series, it looks like the IMF team is made up of agents from previous films, such as Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner.

The trailer gave us our first glimpse of the plot, which involves Ethan Hunt and his team trying to take down the Syndicate.  In the original TV series, "the Syndicate" was just the catch-all term for organized crime rings.  But for the film, looks like they've been rebooted into an evil IMF...the THRUSH to IMF's UNCLE. 

Trailer ho!

Yeah, looks like it has this franchise's one defining characteristic:  Tom Cruise doing crazy stunts.  And I find it kinda weird that they music they use is a remixed bubblegum pop tune by a Disney kid.  And Alec Baldwin is in it!  Again, as I've blogged before, I find it tough to take him seriously anymore after his years on 30 Rock

As with the rest of the franchise, I want to like this but...meh.  It was originally supposed to come out this Christmas, but got moved up to this summer out of a fear that it would get crushed between the new James Bond and Star Wars films.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is go see it on July 31. 

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