Let’s be honest: as much as we love him for all that he’s given the pop culture world, Guy Ritchie‘s recent output — delightfully plentiful though it may be — has been all over the gaff in terms of quality. But based on the first trailer for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare starring Henry Cavill, Eiza González, and Alan Ritchie, the beloved director has course-corrected in delightfully Ritchie-esque fashion.
Those of you who loved The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for all the right reasons (present company included) are in for a real treat here. Adapted from the non-fiction book of the same name written by war correspondent and military historian Damien Lewis, as we’ve previously noted, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare follows a top-secret “butcher-and-bolt” black-ops unit formed by Winston Churchill during World War II, tasked with stopping German forces by any means necessary.
And yes…it’s based on a true story.
This tight-knit group of the modern world’s earliest “deniable” military attachment earned a reputation for themselves by striking behind enemy lines and subverting the “gentlemanly rules of engagement,” hence the title (think Inglorious Basterds meets Kingsman). They would go on to win important victories against the Nazis, “breaking all the accepted rules of warfare in the process” by using deception, and as depicted in the trailer, even bow & arrow to dispatch their enemies.
Due to the nature of this endeavour, as you can imagine, Churchill’s war dogs were quite a colourful bunch: counting criminals, rogues, and survivalists among their number. Led by Gus March-Phillips (portrayed by Henry Cavill) — “a wild British eccentric of high birth” — and Anders Lassen — “an aristocratic, handsome, bloodthirsty young Danish warrior” (portrayed by Alan Ritchson) — the unit was described as a collection of renegades and sociopaths who were regularly jacked up on amphetamines.
The two beefy blokes and Eiza Gonzalez have been joined by noted Ritchie collaborators Henry Golding and Cary Elwes, former Alex Rider star Alex Pettyfer, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Babs Olusanmokun, Til Schweiger Henrique Zaga, and Freddie Fox as a fictitious/dramatised version of retired Navy-intelligence-officer-turned-007 author: Sir Ian Fleming.
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare has been adapted for screens by Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Arash Amel, and Guy Ritchie himself. Ritchie has also produced alongside creative partner Ivan Atkinson and the legendary Jerry Bruckheimer. The cinematography has been accomplished by Ed Wild (Welcome to the Punch, London Has Fallen, The Covenant). The release date is currently scheduled for April 19th, 2024.
Check out The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare trailer above and the official synopsis below:
“Based upon recently declassified files of the British War Department and inspired by true events, The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare is an action-comedy that tells the story of the first-ever special forces organisation formed during WWII by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a small group of military officials including author Ian Fleming. The top-secret combat unit, composed of a motley crew of rogues and mavericks, goes on a daring mission against the Nazis using entirely unconventional and utterly “ungentlemanly” fighting techniques. Ultimately their audacious approach changed the course of the war and laid the foundation for the British SAS and modern Black Ops warfare.”