The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare Might Be Guy Ritchie's Suicide Squad

Make way for the Ministry.

Alex Pettyfer and Henry Cavill in The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

It was probably silly to hold out for a sequel to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The 2015 spy romp, one of director Guy Ritchie’s most underappreciated films, didn’t make much of an impact upon release. Ritchie himself was certainly passionate about the project and whatever franchise potential it might entail, but then he seems to approach every project with the same reckless abandon. His King Arthur remix was meant to sire a six-film franchise, remember?

Sadly, it didn’t go that way for Legend of the Sword, or The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (It certainly didn’t help that one of its stars has since been mired in controversies, effectively dooming any chance for a sequel.) But hope lives on in the form of an unofficial follow-up, one that will see Ritchie reuniting with a handful of previous collaborators.

U.N.C.L.E. star Henry Cavill is set to lead a sprawling ensemble in The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Not to be confused with Ritchie’s own The Gentleman (the 2020 film or its upcoming Netflix spin-off series), Ministry follows the outrageous true story behind Britain’s first special ops unit. Formed during the Second World War, this group of rogues embarked on daring missions behind enemy lines, and from the looks of the film’s first trailer, killed a lot of Nazis in the process.

Ministry represents something of a return to form for Ritchie, whose past two films each felt a bit left field. The Covenant allowed the director to deliver his take on an earnest war drama, while Operation Fortune was a wild swing towards pure silliness. Ministry lands somewhere in the middle: it’s grounded by a bit of wartime urgency, but its “ungentlemanly” tactics allow Ritchie to get back to his irreverent roots. Ministry might also allow the director to do what he does best, which is riff on historical events in his own special way. Based on the trailer, it feels a bit like Ritchie’s take on Kingsman or The Suicide Squad, which suggests we’re in for a treat.

The film takes inspiration from recently declassified files of the British War Department, but it’s directly adapted from Damien Lewis’ 2014 book Churchill’s Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII. Per the official synopsis:

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.

Rounding out Ritchie’s cast are other one-time collaborators like Henry Golding (The Gentlemen) and Cary Elwes (Operation Fortune) — who may or may not be playing James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Alan Ritchson, Eiza González, Alex Pettyfer, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Babs Olusanmokun also star.

The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare hits theaters on April 19.

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