Film Review: ‘Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ Amplifies a Real-Life WWII Heist | Newstalk Florida

The latest Guy Ritchie film ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ has a true story, even if it goes out of its way to beef up a long-declassified World War II story with enough dead Nazis to make ‘Inglourious Basterds’ blush .

The result is a cheerfully entertaining film, but also an uncomfortable fusion. Ritchie’s film, which opens in theaters Friday, takes the increasingly prolific director’s penchant for swaggering, exploitative ultra-violence and applies it to a real-life stealth mission that would have been thrilling enough if it were done with a little bit of historical accuracy was told.

In 2016, documents were released detailing Operation Postmaster, in which a small group of British special agents sailed to the West African island of Fernando Po, then a Spanish colony, in the Gulf of Guinea. Spain was then neutral in the war, making the gamble approved by Churchill risky. In January 1942, she sneaked into port and left with several ships – including the Italian merchant ship Duchessa d’Aosta – that might be used in the Atlantic warfare.

Sounds like a pretty good movie, right? The story even features James Bond author Ian Fleming, which gives it more than enough material for a WWII standout. ‘Operation Postmaster’ is also a better title than the clumsy ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’. However, Ritchie already has one operation – last year’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” – in his filmography.

Ritchie, who made Sherlock Holmes a major action star, has always preferred to boost his films. It’s a less noticeable side effect of the superhero era that regular old heroes have also become supersized, as if human-scale efforts are no longer enough. And “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” in which a handful of cops kill about a thousand Nazis, features a fine, muscular duo in Henry Cavill and Alan Ritchson.

In the opening scene of the film, they are relaxing on a small ship in the Atlantic Ocean as Germans storm aboard. After a few laughs and a Nazi monologue that plays like a poor man’s version of Christoph Waltz’s masterful speech in ‘Inglourious Basterds’, the duo quickly makes mincemeat, leaving blood on Anders Lassen’s henley shirt ( Ritchson, a charming highlight) splashes. ).

Not much has changed in Ritchie-land, although he has swapped tweed for form-fitting T-shirts and cable knits in a riveting adventure on the high seas. As in the director’s previous films, everyone – and as before, almost all men – seem to be having a good time. Likewise, Ritchie revels in the warm-hearted nonchalance of his characters while dishing out all manner of cruelty.

The assembled group of officers are said to be delinquents and misfits, though they steadfastly adhere to the polite manners of Ritchie protagonists of the past. They may kill with bloodthirstiness and impunity, but what really matters is upholding an old-fashioned sense of style. As undercover agents Marjorie Stewart (Eiza González, who cuts through the film as silkily as a knife) and Mr. Heron (Babs Olusanmokun, excellent) riding on a Nazi-controlled train en route to Fernando Po, they look in disgust at the German sausages they are served. Later someone will say, ‘I hate Nazis, not because they are Nazis, but because they are so naughty.

And in expertly staged set pieces, Ritchie makes his own plea for a little class. As a journeyman filmmaker who now releases a film every year, he has in many ways evolved into a more complete director. He is adept at giving the many members of his large ensemble moments to shine – including Henry Golding, Alex Pettyfer, Cary Elwes, Freddie Fox as Fleming, Til Schweiger as a barbaric Nazi and Rory Kinnear as Churchill.

And once the film – based on the non-fiction book by Damien Lewis – settles into a seedy, sunny West African setting and the nighttime heist finale, ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ proves to be a spirited, if grossly exaggerated, diversion.

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” a Lionsgate release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association for strong violence throughout and in some language. Running time: 92 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.