The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024)

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New In Theaters | 0 comments

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a non-stop bloody action fest that combines outrageous laughter and unearthed historical context to create a Nazi-killing grand time! As is often the case when military and government records become unsealed, there’s tons of chatter online as people parse through documents to get to something juicy. Winston Churchill taking on a Nick Fury role (a la assembling the Avengers) in WWII was never on my bingo card, but the more I learned the more I was all in on telling this unique and important story.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

The British Government has been offered terms of surrender by Hitler and the Nazi’s as they continue their march to control Europe and beyond. Knowing Parliament would never sanction a covert mission to disrupt the Nazi U-Boats, Winston Churchill (Rory Kinnear), Brigadier Gubbins “M” (Cary Elwes), and a young Ian Fleming (Freddie Fox) assemble a team of unruly men who would die for their country and didn’t mind doing their dirty work. Led by Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill) and Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson), this group of soldiers must do everything in their power to help free up the Atlantic Ocean in hopes that the Americans may join the war effort.

Directed by the incomparable Guy Ritchie, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare fits incredibly well into his wheelhouse and the sort of zany and kinetic action he’s known to bring to the screen. With this unsealed story being spoken of as a basis for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character and novels, it’s not hard to see why Ritchie entrusted that influential role to none other than Henry Cavill who embodies everything about 007. March-Phillips, however, leans far more towards the psychotic as he gleefully mows down enemies with a massive grin on his face and a sunny disposition to boot. Playing against that 007 type, Cavill completely unwinds and lets loose with his physicality and his humor, delivering entertaining moments with ease. This pairing of Cavill and Ritchie proved far too enjoyable for all involved, so much so that they’re teaming up for another film next year.

Supporting Cavill along this treacherous journey is a beefy Alan Ritchson, who finds himself utilizing that Reacher intimidation as he hacks and saws Nazi’s left and right. Equipped with enough arrows, muscles, and ridiculous accents to take down an entire garrison, Ritchson steals the show numerous times with comedic timing that only strengthens his combat. Rounding out the rest of the crew is suave Henry Golding, a crafty Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and a cheeky Alex Pettyfer who all bring a signature style and comedic edge. Apart from the team, Eiza Gonzalez shines in a delicate role that finds her playing a cat and mouse game with a dastardly and devilish Nazi in Heinrich Luhr. It was also a bonus to see Babs Olusanmokun steal some screen time in an undercover role that’s incredibly enjoyable to watch.

For a story with loads of historical and military significance, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare doesn’t concern itself with much other than the glorious action that seemingly takes up most of the two-hour runtime. While it’s no knock on my enjoyment of the film, I was surprised by how much of it was truly just stealth or full-frontal combat. As we’ve come to expect with his films, the action Guy Ritchie creates is full of personality and completely surprising moments. While I love watching Nazi’s get sprayed down as much as the next person, it’s hard not to want a bit more depth from the story as you begin to think more and more of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds while watching the carnage. With the direct ties to history and grave stakes for a massive population, it felt like a missed opportunity for Ritchie to dig a bit deeper in the narrative and create some higher stakes for those involved.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare wastes no time in its quest for blood and violence, immediately drawing the audience into a band of burly misfits whom you can’t help but admire. Watching these beefy men exchange naughty and suggestive remarks while they ferociously batter down any enemy in their path is worth more than the price of admission alone. It’s so refreshing to see Henry Cavill get the respect he deserves in a leading role and it’s even better to see him have such a tremendous time working with an extremely likeable and talented crew. Though I may have desired a bit more from the story, I won’t deny that the film entertains on almost every level and that’s exactly what they sought out to accomplish. My only hope is that we can see these characters again in a Guy Ritchie series because two-hours with them wasn’t nearly enough time.

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