Guy Ritchie became an enduring hero to the bro nation with his early efforts Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (which introduced a bald, quivering mass of muscles named Jason Statham to international audiences) and Snatch. His high-style take on the scuzzy crime film marked him as Great Britain’s answer to Quentin Tarantino (advantage: the colonies), or the super-genius version of Neanderthal Boondocks Saints creator Troy Duffy.
Then Ritchie embarked on the grotesque self-parody phase of his career and devoted himself to making the kinds of movies that would be derided as terrible Ritchie knock-offs if they were made by anyone else, as well as a remake of Lina Wertmüller’s Swept Away (starring Ritchie’s then-wife Madonna), which was equally, if not more, terrible, but in a way that made it distinct from Ritchie’s other awful, insulting failures of the period.
Yes, for a while there it seemed like Ritchie was doomed to be half-remembered as one of Madonna’s many regrettable ex-husbands and the maker of one of her many regrettable cinematic vehicles. Then Ritchie was handed the keys to a typically cranked-up, anachronistic Sherlock Holmes reboot starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and suddenly the old mojo was back—people were enjoying, and not dreading, the man’s movies again. The film was successful enough to inspire a sequel, and now the resurgent filmmaker, no longer making vaguely Kabbalah-themed thrillers like 2005’s Revolver, has been given the directorial reins over another British pop-culture icon: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The trail of the of the tape
Title: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Screenwriters: Lionel Wigram, Guy Ritchie
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki
Release date: August 14, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “You’re not very good at this whole ‘subtlety’ thing, are you?”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
The opening sequence in this trailer is incredibly long by the standards of both Ritchie’s films and trailers in general, both of which tend to aim for short-attention-span bombast. Outside of that, however, the film looks more like a Ritchie joint, with style to spare, a riot of Cold War 1960s period detail and quips being delivered by the impeccably attired Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Yes, that’s right. Everyone’s second- or third-favorite Superman and Lone Ranger are teaming up in a movie that could be Ritchie’s next Sherlock Holmes-like franchise, or could be the next version of 1998’s The Avengers: another big-budget take on a 1960s spy franchise that was an embarrassment to all involved, particularly a kilt-wearing Sean Connery as its weather-controlling bad guy.