Thursday, May 23, 2024

“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”: The Real-Life “Prequel” to James Bond

Flashy, provocative, and said to have inspired Ian Fleming’s James Bond character, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is a fictionalized portrayal of one of WWII’s most daring real-life missions: Operation Postmaster.

Not the next cult classic, but not making it on the “Worst Blockbusters of All Time” list either, Guy Ritchie’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is flashy, funny, and just fine. It’s two hours of darker humor riddled with a daredevil spirit, cheeky banter, and enough explosives to fill the next ten action movies this year. And while it’s a familiar genre trope in and of itself, “Ungentlemanly Warfare” is new in that it chronicles Winston Churchill’s now-declassified, then “unsanctioned, unauthorized, unofficial” Postmaster operation — you’ll have this phrase memorized by the end of the film — to cut off resources to the Germans by sinking their supply ships.

With World War II films so often made where you’ll have the plot and pitfalls memorized before seeing it, “Ungentlemanly Warfare” still does manage to shine a refreshed comedic light on an otherwise heavy period of human history. In near-Wes Anderson style, it bands together a group of remorseless mavericks: Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill), a gun-wielding mastermind who follows no rulebook; pyro-turned-munitions-expert Freddy Alvarez (Henry Golding); sailor extraordinaire and ship captain Henry Hayes (Hero Fiennes Tiffin); Dane Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson), who “knows 100 creative ways to kill a man”; and Geoffrey Appleyard (Alex Pettyfer), a wickedly-good criminal strategist.

Their mission? Sink the Duchessa d’Aosta, an Italian supply ship docked in the neutral territory of Fernando Po, a Spanish-controlled island off the coast of West Africa. What’s the catch for a group of men with nothing else to lose? If found, the desperadoes risk imprisonment by the British or torture by the Nazis (both of which don’t seem to phase them). While all definitely doesn’t unfold according to the SOE’s and SSRF’s confidential plans, it’s exciting to watch the squad’s villainous brainstorming sessions and recklessness play out for the better good.

Despite its repetitiveness, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is saved by its tight-knit cast that’s mad in all the right ways. The cherry on top is the film’s score, immaculately crafted by British composer Christopher Benstead. Overall, it’s one “Mission Accomplished” (for lack of a better summation) that’s worth the M&Ms and popcorn.

Movie Times: Click Here

Genre: War | Action | Comedy

Director: Guy Ritchie

Actors: Henry Cavill, Henry Golding, Eiza González, Babs Olusanmokun, Alex Pettyfer, Alan Ritchson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin

Run Time: 120 minutes

Rating: R for Strong Language & Strong Violence Throughout

Caroline Minchella
Caroline Minchella
Caroline was 15 years old when her family moved to Coronado. Though she was a “transplant”, Caroline found a home in the Coronado community near-immediately: she became an intern for “The Coronado Times”; helped reinstate the CHS newspaper, “The Islander Times”; was a volunteer dog-walker for PAWS; and a faithful Concert in the Park attendee.After completing her BA in English at the University of California Santa Barbara, she went on to craft answers for Amazon Alexa devices and write creatively on the side. Fast forward seven years, Caroline is thrilled to return as a Reporter for “The Coronado Times.” Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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