Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
This new spy film, by British director Guy Ritchie, contains equal parts Mission: Impossible, James Bond & The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Genre: Action / Comedy / Thriller
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Hugh Grant, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, Lourdes Faberes, Peter Ferdinando & Eddie Marsan.
Run Time: 114 min.
US Release: 12 January 2023
UK Release: N/A
German Release: 05 January 2023
Welcome to my first review of 2023, beginning with a Guy Ritchie release that was pushed back last year, due to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, now finally being released slowly in theatres worldwide. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre sees the director reunite with Jason Statham for the fifth time. As a fan, this one was high up on my list of films to watch and I was lucky enough to have caught a preview, showing it early this week. That said, this is an unusual entry in the regisseur’s portfolio. So, grab your cup of earl grey as I explain where the premise worked, just like where it fell short!
Orson Fortune and his team of private operatives recruit one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars, Danny Francesco, to help them on an undercover mission, when the sale of a deadly new weapons technology threatens to disrupt the world order.
The screenplay is possibly the feature’s weakest part, however, it is still an enjoyable spy thriller. Nonetheless, compared to other productions by the director, the story is pretty straightforward with no surprises or twists. It is also easily foreseeable to a fault, containing a superficial plot, missing elements of suspense or dire situations. There is no profoundness, no symbolical message nor is there any meaningfulness to search for. It is a simple action flick that will fade from memory after a couple of days.
Having said that, it also manages to be good at what it sets out to be; simple, though effective entertainment! The premise is standard, nothing out of the ordinary, yet well constructed, as well as executed. It contains solid action, balanced with the typical Guy Ritchie humour, which parodies the spy genre a little. This is especially true in terms of the MacGuffin, as it is set up from the beginning that the British government has no clue what was stolen. Unfortunately, it never establishes if it is supposed to be an actual lampoonery.
The comedy is mostly carried by the very tongue-in-cheek dialogue, including subliminal satire, sexual innuendoes and crude language at times. Issues arise when conversations are written to sound more profound than they are.
Jason Statham as the main character Orson Fortune turns on his charm again. He is amusing, as well as surprisingly retaining. Other than that he plays a version of himself we have seen in several other productions. Fortune himself feels at times like a fusion of Turkish, Rick Ford (from the comedy Spy) plus Frank Martin. Sadly, Orson Fortune is a little too good at what he does, never being in any immediate danger. It is fun to see Statham enjoying himself, but abundantly clear that this is not a role with substance.
Aubrey Plaza joined the cast as Sarah Fidel, the computer/communications epert . Her chemistry with Statham is off the charts and one of the humorous key points in the narrative. Fidel herself is intelligent, as well as resourceful but she is sadly also a typical female stereotype, using her femininity as a weapon, as we have seen countless of times before in this genre.
Hugh Grant is the actual star here. He stole every scene he is in, playing the billionaire villain Greg Simmonds. Grant already managed to surprise back in 2020, with his vastly different performance in The Gentleman, here he gives an incredibly hilarious rendition, of a star struck, slimy, weapons dealer, who can change his tone from one moment to the next, sending chills down audience’s spine. Grant is simply amazing!
Josh Hartnett stars in his second Guy Ritchie film, after 2021s Wrath of Man. He gives an amusing rendition as Holywoods hottest actor, Danny Francesco, poking fun at the industry and his own profession. Danny is insecure at first, though quickly grows to like his role in the whole mission.
Rounding of the cast are Bugzy Malone as Orson’s right hand man J.J. giving a solid performance, plus Cary Elwes as Orson’s handler Nathan Jasmine. Elwes has a comedical back and forth with his agents.
As with the Bourne, Ethan Hunt or James Bond flicks, the camera jumps from one location of the world to the next, giving the overall product a couple of gorgeous-looking settings. The action is well captured, yet feels rushed in many scenes. The cinematography also feels very distant from the regisseur’s usual style. A fair amount of cross-cuts are being used when the team splits up during missions, though that is about it. The colours are vibrant, while the picture is crisp.
The sound editing is well-balanced, with dialogues not being drowned out by the sound of gunfire or explosions, which do pack an oomph. The music, on the other hand, is forgettable! Composer Christopher Benstead, crafted a bog-standard action theme that doesn’t stay with viewers long after the credits roll.
Verdict: The new Guy Ritchie-directed feature is enjoyable, even if not memorable. The script is unusually straightforward, knowing the regisseur’s previous work; there are no twists, nor surprises. In fact, everything goes rather smooth for a spy picture, which makes it very predictable. Jason Statham plays a charming, bland version of his usual characters, yet his chemistry with Aubrey Plaza is of the charts, creating some hilarious moments. Josh Hartnett is fantastic as Danny Francesco, though it is Hugh Grants who steals the show, with his slimy performance of a rich billionaire. Is it worth watching? I’d argue that if you are a fan of the director’s previous work, you’ll be entertained by this one. However, I’d recommend waiting until it is out on streaming services or rental. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is not Ritchie’s best but it also isn’t his worst movie. I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10.
Have you seen Operation Fortune? Do you agree with my review? Let me know what you thought of the newest Ritchie movie & as always, thank you for reading!