The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Review

Guy Ritchie delivers a fantastic action film with an absurdly charismatic cast that is one of the better theatrical experiences of the year.

Last Updated on April 26, 2024

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

REVIEW: Guy Ritchie has had quite an interesting career over the last decade but he’s really settled into this period/action niche. And I’m all for it. If there’s one thing I’ll never tire of, it’s Nazis being killed in brutal ways. They’re the most one-dimensionally evil bad guy possible. And The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare gives us that in spades with what feels like hundreds of them getting gunned down before our very eyes. It’s absolutely glorious.

The film follows Gus March-Phillips (Cavill) and his band of soldiers as they try to stop Nazi U-boats from preventing American help during World War 2. While this is proudly proclaimed to be based on a true story, it’s hard not to question just how loose the truth may be. Because there are more unbelievable moments of badassery that it’s hard to see them as factual. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about life, it’s that some of the most insane things can be true. And The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare strikes the perfect tone between whimsical and grounded.

I’ve always felt that Henry Cavill is far more charismatic than the roles he tends to take on would have you believe. So I’m glad to say that Cavill finally seems to have a part that takes advantage of his natural charm. Gus March-Phillips has just the right amount of bravado and skill to back it up, that he’s constantly demanding of your attention. From Henry Golding to Alex Pettyfer each character has their own set of skills. Their distinct personalities prevent them from simply being action movie set dressing. Even if their roles can fall into a more stereotypical label.

(L-R) Alex Pettyfer, Henry Cavill, Alan Ritchson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Henry Golding in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024).

But in a film full of great characters, the real highlight is Reacher star Alan Ritchson‘s Anders Lassen. His enthusiasm is infectious and his machismo is unmatched. I’ve been a fan of Ritchson since his Blue Mountain State days so it’s been great to see him fully embrace the action hero role. He also utilizes those comedic chops to give us some of the funniest moments as well. So Ritchson, much like his character, really is a jack of all trades.

Unfortunately, the whole Eiza Gonzalez subplot feels like a waste of time. While I’m sure the real life Marjorie Stewart was vital to the operation, these asides were completely lacking in energy. It really felt like the film screeched to a halt whenever focusing on Gonzalez. And it’s not even the fault of the actress, it’s more the subplot that just fails to excite. Maybe in a different film, it would have worked but instead, it just takes away from the people that are worth the screen time. Thankfully, many of her scenes involve Til Schweiger, who is still as great as ever.

Alan Ritchson in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024).

The action in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is properly grounded, with some wonderful use of practical explosions and stunts. I’m sure there are CGI bullet hits (they’re hard to avoid these days) but they all work great. There’s a sequence that I’ve been waiting for my entire cinema-going life: a ludicrously long stealth scene. I’m sure there are some that will tire of it as it’s a lot of the same thing happening over and over with various Nazis being shot with silencers. But there’s something so satisfying about it that I could have watched another 20 minutes. These men are good at their job, but their job is killing bad guys.

Despite its 2-hour runtime, the film moves lightning quick. The plot is rather straightforward, and some may dislike the lack of twists, but not every film needs to pull the audience in a million different directions. I found the inclusion of James Bond author Ian Fleming to be a little “on the nose” but hey, reality has some stupid things happen sometimes. Regardless, I had an absolute blast with The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare and would probably consider it my favorite Guy Ritchie film. I tend to find his work a bit style over substance, but that really works here. There’s a little bit of Inglourious Basterds while still carving its own path. Here’s hoping we get a sequel and that this isn’t our last time with this band of misfits.

THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE IS IN THEATERS ON APRIL 19TH, 2024.

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About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.