We watched him unalive mythical creatures in "The Witcher," saw him murder Gen. Zod as Superman and we'll soon be watching Henry Cavill shooting enemy spies in the upcoming comedy thriller "Argylle." None of that can possibly compare to the excitement of watching him lead a team of misfits to kill Nazis in Guy Ritchie's much-anticipated film, "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare."
This new movie is based on the true story of Britain's real-world Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II, the forerunner of today's special operations that conducted many of the same kinds of missions: sabotage, espionage, reconnaissance and targeted assaults (apparently) wherever the Axis deployed its forces.
Officially an action spy comedy, "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" also stars Alan Ritchson ("Reacher"), Eiza González ("Ambulance"), Henry Golding ("Snake Eyes"), Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride"), Hero Fiennes Tiffin ("The Silencing") Til Schweiger ("Inglourious Basterds") and Babs Olusanmokun ("Dune").
Though it looks a little over the top (and I mean that in the best possible way) and a lot of history buffs are apt to scoff at movies that are "inspired by the true story," there's a lot to be excited about with "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." The film is based on a book by Damien Lewis, the award-winning historian, war reporter and author of "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill's Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops."
The book tells the story of the first killer unit, called Maid Honour Force, created by Britain's minister of economic warfare, Hugh Dalton (likely played by Elwes). The force was led by the high-born British aristocrat Gus March-Phillipps and a Danish soldier, the equally aristocratic Anders Lassen. The duo assembled a team to capture Nazi shipping in the port of Fernando Po (in what is today the West African island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea), allegedly with the help of some amphetamines. All of which explains so much about this trailer.
From 1940 and beyond the end of World War II, the Special Operations Executive employed more than 13,000 people from all walks of life, male and female, straight and gay, criminal and aristocrat; a composition almost unheard-of at the time. Language, nationality and deniability were prized above all else. The goal was to win the war by any means necessary, which usually meant "butcher-and-bolt" -- brutally kill and vanish.
Deniability, of course, meant that most of the men and women on these missions were, for all their bravery, expendable. They undertook some of the most daring, important and seemingly impossible missions of World War II, missions that likely changed the course of the war itself. Few of these early fighters survived until the SOE was officially dissolved in 1946. As for the members of Maid Honour Force, you'll just have to watch the movie.
"The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" hits theaters nationwide on April 19, 2024.
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