Guy Ritchie rose to prominence as the writer and director behind a string of fast-talking British crime thrillers that heavily favored style over substance before he evolved into a big budget regular, although his results on major studio projects have been massively inconsistent to say the least.
His Sherlock Holmes duology with Robert Downey Jr. turned out to be hugely popular, with both installments raking in over $500 million each, while King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was awful and wound up as one of the biggest box office bombs in history. Aladdin, meanwhile, was functional if nowhere near spectacular, but still managed to crack the billion-dollar mark thanks largely to the enduring popularity of the animated original.
In between, Ritchie delivered what might be his most underrated effort ever in 1960s spy caper The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Based on the smash hit TV show that ran for 105 episodes from 1964 to 1968, the story isn’t anything to write home about, but the movie thrives on the easygoing chemistry of the cast and a string of exciting action sequences, with leads Henry Cavill and a pre-cannibalism Armie Hammer proving their action hero chops as suave American Napoleon Solo and no-nonsense Russian Illya Kuryakin respectively.
Despite scoring solid review from critics, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. flopped in theaters after scraping together just $108 million against a $75 million budget, with Warner Bros. reportedly suffering a loss of up to $80 million on the pic. However, it’s gained a reputation as something of a cult favorite over the last few years, and the breezy action comedy is currently finding a new lease of life on Netflix, where it’s steadily rising up the global most-watched list having cracked the Top 20.