12th Mar2012

‘Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

ROTMFU

Nostalgia is always a popular tool, especially in the DVD market. Shows like the Man from U.N.C.L.E that don’t have a release yet on DVD in the UK are sought after by people who remember the show and want to relive them on a format that is now seen as the mainstream choice. Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. could be seen as a way to appease these people who want to see a release, and maybe if they were lucky this release could also be testing the waters to see if there is a desire from the fans to see finally see the show again.

When THRUSH steal a nuclear device and threaten to blow it up unless $300,000 is handed over in the hands of former U.N.C.L.E employee Solo it’s decided that he and his partner Kuryakin must return to thwart the evil plan. Returning after fifteen years out of service they are thrust back into the James Bond like world of espionage and adventure working together to discover just where the bomb is and how they will stop it from being set off, as well as working out just why THRUSH want the return of Solo in the first place.

The first thing to notice about this TV movie is the pure cheesiness of it. The plot is straight out of a James Bond style script, even featuring a very cheeky cameo by George Lazenby as “J.B” helping out Solo just when he needs it in his trust Aston Martin DB5. Fans of not only Man From U.N.C.L.E., but also Bond will love this cameo and the cheeky line “It’s just like Her Majesty’s Secret Service” as of course that is the title of Lazenby’s Bond film. This type of cameo is a perfect example of how cheesy the film is. I’m not saying this is a bad thing because honestly it’s pure Austin Powers, years before the Powers film was even made. Underground enemy bases, henchmen being nothing but cannon fodder for the heroes to fight their way through, it’s all here.

The fact that the film was made for TV is the first hint of the weakness though, its low budget holds it back from being a full on James Bond-esque tale with the scale those films had. What they do manage though is to create a strong story that fans of the show will undoubtedly love. For people who don’t really know the show but give this film a chance I’m sure they would be pleasantly surprised and want to track down some of the old episodes themselves to see if they are as fun as this.

Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a strong one off made for TV film that showed the chemistry between Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as Solo and Kuryakin. Even after the show had ended and they came back to do this none of the magic was gone, they were straight back into the roles as if they had been doing it only the day before. Light hearted and full of recognisable eighties stars such as Patrick Macnee, George Lazenby and Geoffrey Lewis this is definitely a purchase for fans who want a trip back into the nostalgic years of show and others like Mission Impossible. For others it’s fun and a nice taste of TV shows of the past; a nice introduction to a treasure trove of past pleasures that gives plenty of entertainment to explore.

Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. is released on DVD on March 26th, courtesy of Fabulous Films

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