‘Ministry’ excels in pew! pew!

Guy Richie must have thought “there needs to be a WWII action film but with more violence and explosions than Where Eagles Dare.” The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare has more violence and explosions than Inglourious Basterds.

It’s a parody through and through to the point that Richie is lampooning both John Wick-esque set-ups and retro-WWII thrillers.

Maybe the coolest thing about  film is where a minor character actually says the title right before the film ends.

There’s actually a 1979 film The Sea Wolves (Roger Moore, Gregory Peck, David Niven), while not the same mission, is similar in plot; a group of elder operatives are sent undercover by British intelligence to destroy a boat in a neutral Portuguese port city in Africa.

Both films revolve around blowing up a ship with intelligence links to German U-boats.

A  cool soundtrack pays tribute to Morricone/Leone style western themes that includes whistles and grunts. And the cut “School Bus” written by Lalo Schifrin for Dirty Harry pops up for a bit.

Ian Fleming, the actual author of James Bond who himself was involved in military spy missions of the era, is an actual character in the film (Cary Elwes) but it’s an easy guess that the lead roles, all smart-ass quips and macho bravado, are composite characters.

The mission requires operatives with the strength of Navy SEALS and a set of skills that make them psychologically impenetrable. Is it too late to cull the one-season Dirty Dozen tv-series Garrison’s Gorillas to get a sense of the camaraderie on display?

Henry Cavill (a current Richie go-to actor) and Alan Ritchson get the best lines but other members of the group have persnickety moment to shine. Henry Golding, Alex Pettier, Hero Fiennes Tiffin co-star.

The only female operative (Eiza González) shows up for a costume party dressed as Cleopatra with the local German C.O. (Til Schweiger) in tow as Cesar. Somehow she manages to completely change costumes and warble a jazz standard with full band in a white satin slit-side dress. 

Another member swims in the Atlantic with no scuba gear and meets the group on a trawler in the vast sea. Somehow he just planted explosives on a German ship hundreds of yards away. 

This ministry cannot be stopped. It’s an excessive scold of endless killing with silencers on automatic providing a popcorn popping background rhythm with a pew! pew! beat. A perfect popcorn movie.

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