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Guy Ritchie
Henry Cavill, Eiza González, Alan Ritchson
Writing Credits:
Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Arash Amel, Guy Ritchie

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

Rated R.

Box Office:
$60 Million.
Opening Weekend:
$8,913,698 on 2845 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/25/2024

• “The Ministry of Filmmaking” Featurette
• Trailer
• DVD Copy


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The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare [Blu-Ray] (2024)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 18, 2024)

Starting with 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and going through 2019’s Aladdin, Guy Ritchie seemed determined to make blockbusters that could be viewed by mass audiences. He often succeeded, as he created some popular films.

Since then, though, Ritchie appeared to decide to return to the violent “R”-rated action flicks that launched his career. In this vein, we go to 2024’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

In late 1941, the UK continues a difficult battle against their relentless German enemy. In an effort to shake up matters, Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Rory Kinnear) indirectly starts Operation Postmaster.

Essentially viewed as a suicide mission, Brigadier Colin Gubbins (Cary Elwes) recruits Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill) to lead a team that uses “ungentlemanly” methods to sabotage tug boats that service Nazi subs in the North Atlantic. In addition, agents Marjorie Stewart (Eiza González) and Richard Heron (Babs Olusanmokun) go on their own voyage to find backup in cast Gus’s squad fails.

At the start, I referred to Ministry as another one of Ritchie’s “R”-rated violent efforts, and that proves true. It mixes intrigue with various bloody conflicts, even if it largely avoids the gangster elements of flicks like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

However, based on the title and premise, I went into the film with the thought it’d be “PG-13”. Perhaps because the movie’s name reminded me of efforts like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I assumed Ritchie would shoot for an audience similar to the comic book crowd.

That said, Ministry does lack the general brutality of many Ritchie flicks, and it also comes based on real events. Though Ritchie takes ample liberties, the basics of the premise remain accurate.

Arguably the most intriguing aspect of Ministry comes from the fact Ian Fleming worked within the agency featured in the film. Indeed, these experiences influenced his creation of James Bond, with Gus March-Phillipps known as one inspiration for the 007 character.

Beyond these historical elements, does Ministry work as a film? Not especially.

Though this doesn’t mean I view Ministry as a flop. As noted, the basic story offers material of potential interest, but Ritchie fails to find much to do with it.

Of his prior flicks, 2015’s Man from UNCLE offers the closest match. Also a period piece, also a spy thriller, also an action extravaganza, also starring Cavill, the two seem like peas in the proverbial pod.

Indeed, my view of Ministry so closely echoes my thoughts about UNCLE that I found myself tempted to do the old cut and paste. Both offer the bones of a good movie and manage mild entertainment, but both also fail to connect.

Part of the issue comes from the bifurcated narrative, as we split between the March-Phillipps and Stewart/Heron sides. These eventually come together, but in the meantime, they don’t blend smoothly.

That makes the movie disjointed and less than engaging. We know we’ll build toward the inevitable Big Action Spectacular but the events that lead us there don’t offer a lot of thrills.

As with UNCLE, Ritchie tries desperately to convince us we get a frisky action affair. Chris Benstead’s score veers from sprightly jazz to Morricone-style material, all of which seems to work overtime to convey cinematic vivacity that never occurs.

The same goes for Ritchie’s take on the property. He can’t decide if he wants a film with gleeful uber-violence or a slick caper flick or a dramatic war tale.

This means he attempts all of these. Ritchie can’t bring the threads together, so the end product just meanders.

Again, none of this makes Ministry an actual “bad movie”. The package manages just enough spark to keep us with it.

Still, Ministry disappoints because it lacks the expected zing and feels longer than its 120 minutes. A good film resides at the heart of this one but the final result doesn’t deliver.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a terrific presentation.

Sharpness worked well. Little to no softness emerged here, as the film remained accurate and tight from start to finish.

No issues with moiré effects or jaggies manifested, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.

Ministry opted for a standard teal and amber palette, so don’t expect creativity there. Nonetheless, the disc replicated the hues as desired and looked positive within those confines.

Blacks appeared deep and taut, while low-light shots brought appealing clarity and delineation. Expect a solid image here.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Ministry delivered a pretty engaging Dolby Atmos soundtrack. That said, don’t expect wall-to-wall material.

A fair amount of the film stayed with a quiet tone, and action beats punctuated this vibe. As such, the movie alternated loud shenanigans with stretches of soft, environmental information.

This suited the tale and succeeded in its goals. When allowed to kick to life, the mix brought an engrossing soundscape that placed the viewer firmly in the warfare.

Audio quality satisfied, with music that appeared rich and full. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Effects appeared bold and accurate, and they failed to suffer from distortion or roughness. The soundtrack added to the movie’s impact.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a featurette called The Ministry of Filmmaking. It runs 24 minutes, 11 seconds and offers notes from writer/director Guy Ritchie, producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Ivan Atkinson, John Friedberg and Chad Oman, 1st AD Max Keene, production designer Martyn John, costume designer Loulou Bontemps, hair/makeup designer Jules Chapman, and actors Henry Cavill, Cary Elwes, Alan Ritchson, Eiza González, Rory Kinnear, Babs Olusanmokun, Til Schweiger, Alex Pettyfer, Danny Sapani, Henry Golding, Freddie Fox and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.

The program examines the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes, Ritchie’s impact on the production, action/stunts and various effects. We get some good shots from the sets and a few useful notes, but the show leans too fluffy to become anything particularly strong.

At its core, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare boasts an intriguing historical premise. Unfortunately, the end product never connects, so we wind up with an oddly flat action-thriller. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio with a “making of” featurette as well. I’ve seen less interesting war flicks but this one nonetheless fails to click.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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