[Courtesy of Lionsgate Films]

Movie Review: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

07:00 April 24, 2024
By: David Vicari

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024)

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is one of those World War II action pictures where a ragtag group of soldiers are sent on a dangerous and impossible mission. It's reminiscent of films such as The Dirty Dozen (1967), Play Dirty (1969), and Kelly's Heroes (1970), and while it takes lots of inspiration from Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009), Ministry is its own movie.

[Courtesy of Lionsgate Films]

It's 1941 and the United Kingdom is struggling in their fight with Nazi Germany. Brigadier Colin Gubbins (Cary Elwes), with support from Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Rory Kinnear), comes up with Operation Postmaster, a covert plan to sabotage the Nazis' operation of resupplying their U-boats by blowing up the Italian supply ship Duchessa d'Aosta. Picked to lead the mission is the cool under pressure Gus March-Phillipps (Henry Cavill). His team of soldiers include Danish strongman Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson) and explosives expert Freddy Alvarez (Henry Golding). Also vital to the mission is dapper spy Frederich Heron (Babs Olusanmokun), as well as sexy and lethal dame Marjorie Stewart (Eiza González).

The movie zips along with a rousing music score by Christopher Benstead. It balances masculine Ennio Morricone-esque action cues with jazzy Lalo Schifrin-inspired material. In fact, Ministry actually samples an alternate cue Schifrin composed for Dirty Harry (1971) in one of its action scenes.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is based on Damien Lewis' book Churchill's Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII, but director Guy Ritchie's film is highly fictitious; however, that doesn't stop the movie from being highly entertaining. This is an exciting action film that turns into a tense heist picture, and it's all done with a droll sense of humor.

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