“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” Review | Not Crazy Enough

Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with a number of borderline outrageous films, including the likes of Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the last two Sherlock Holmes movies, and more. However, lately, his films have felt a bit more grounded. The Covenant, The Gentleman, and even Operation Fortune weren’t as over the top as Ritchie’s earlier films. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare feels like an odd middle ground between early and late-career Guy Ritchie films.

The story of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is based on a true story. It follows Gus March-Philips (Henry Cavill), of the British armed forces (who James Bond is believed to be based on), and his team of oddball misfits as they embark on a virtual suicide mission in an attempt to slow down the Nazi war machine. If that sounds a lot like a British version of Inglourious Basterds, that would be a fair comparison.

In a vacuum, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is an entertaining romp through World War II. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a vacuum. It’s difficult to avoid comparing Ungentlemanly Warfare to Ritchie’s earlier films, and Quentin Tarantino’s very similar WWII outing. In comparison, Ungentlemanly Warfare simply plays it a bit too safe.

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Perhaps this was the result of studio notes toning down the original screenplay, or this is simply Ritchie continuing his more grounded modern approach to filmmaking. Whatever the case, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a concept that should be completely bonkers, but instead, there’s only a slight bit of insanity taking place.

The film features an ensemble cast of experienced talent and quality up-and-comers. While everyone gets a chance to shine, only a few characters feel whole. Some have limited dialogue, while others just don’t have much to do. This is partially due to the sheer number of characters involved, but even the antagonist of the film, Heinrich Luhr (Til Schweiger), isn’t particularly compelling. He’s a passable villain but pales in comparison to Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) from Inglourious Basterds.

Despite the overly safe approach to the material, there’s still an interesting espionage plot at hand, with a few laughs, and a couple of really fun over-the-top scenes. It’s tame for a Guy Ritchie film, but it still works well enough. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a fun ride while you’re in the theater, but something you’ll quickly forget once you make your way home.

About The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Synopsis: The British military recruits a small group of highly skilled soldiers to strike against German forces behind enemy lines during World War II.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writers: Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Arash Amel

Cast: Henry Cavill, Alan Ritchson, Alex Pettyfer, Eiza González, Babs Olusanmokun

Rated: R

Runtime: 2 Hours

Releases: April 19, 2024

Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.

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