Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

A (quite obviously) exaggerated version of what occurred during WWII, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare gives us Henry Cavill as the rough-and-ready Major Gus March-Phillipps chosen to lead a suicide mission in neutral Spanish territory on a mission designed to relinquish Nazi U-boat control of the Atlantic Ocean. There's something quite fun about Cavill playing the man who most believe Ian Fleming modeled James Bond after even if the actor never gets a chance to play 007.

The rest of the ragtag group fits easily into basic action cliche with the standouts being Reacher's Alan Ritchson as the most talented killer of the bunch and the stunning Eiza González who puts herself in danger as the inside woman garnering the attention of the evil Nazi Commander Heinrich Luhr (Til Schweiger). The film would like to be Inglourious Basterds (which coincidentally also starred Schweiger). It's not in that league, but there's still plenty of fun to have in this over-the-top action-adventure.

Other notable performances include Alex Pettyfer, Babs Olusanmokun, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Henry Golding rounding out the squad, Cary Elwes as "M," Freddie Fox as Fleming, Rory Kinnear as Winston Churchill, and Simon Paisley Day as the British Admiral who disapproved of the operation and, if his attempts at meddling had been more successful, might have cost the Allies the war.

Cavill and Ritchson are having a grand old time here with Cavill leaning into some of the characters smarmier aspects so well. A character like this, or The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s Napoleon Solo (also a Guy Ritchie film) fits him much better than a morally-ambiguous Kryptonian. And if you didn't know who Eiza González was before this year, you should now. She follows up her performance from the Netflix hit 3 Body Problem with a star-making performance here owning every scene she is in and nearly stealing the film when taking the stage for her sultry musical distraction.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare might be lightweight stuff, it's more Dirty Dozen than Inglourious Basterds featuring a number of expected action cliches such as no one ever running out of bullets and our heroes rarely being in any real danger that can't easily extract themselves from, but it's a pretty damn good Guy Ritchie flick. The film knows what it is and leans into it providing a couple of hours of solid entertainment.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
  • IMDb: link

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