A fun distraction that is perfectly fine viewing if you are in the mood for a jolt of Statham led action thrills.
BY JACK RANSOM APRIL 11, 2023
Guy Ritchie’s action spy comedy has finally arrived after multiple delays and sporadic release dates across the globe. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre sees special agent Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) and his team of operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone & Cary Elwes) recruit one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars (Josh Hartnett) to help them on an undercover mission when the sale of a deadly new weapons technology threatens to disrupt the world order.
Whilst at first everybody just assumed COVID or the ever familiar (and incredibly irritating) distribution conundrum’s (of which frequently lead to staggered release dates) that many features find themselves caught up in. It was in fact revealed that due to some of the film’s antagonists happening to be Ukrainian the studio made the call to hold off and restructure the release of the film. In all honesty, in a way you can understand why the studio was happy to allow for DTV/rental, Prime Video and a limited theatrical release to be the outcome as Ritchie’s latest is solid, fun if ultimately disposable affair.
Not wanting to start off too negatively, but it is undeniable how little Operation Fortune offers in terms of originality surrounding its core concept, outside of Danny’s (Hartnett) involvement in the plan. Borrowing heavily from Mission: Impossible and James Bond especially, filtered through Ritchie’s comedic sensibilities and the F-bomb heavy dialogue is understandably a solid hook, but you will frequently find yourself thinking of how the aforementioned inspirations deliver this material more effectively at their best. It does move swiftly (if a little jumpy), and is certainly an easy watch, with plenty of exotic, varied locales and a tangible level of glossy excess to the proceedings.
You can’t help thinking that Ritchie is slightly restraining himself when it comes to the violence. Quick cuts and minor splatter neuter Statham’s ever-entertaining rampages, however the bombastic explosion heavy final third, suave, punchy brawls and practical stunt work provide enough popcorn munching spectacle to keep you entertained. The globe-trotting locales are vibrant, varied and elevate the scope and scale narrative. There is some obvious green screen backdrops and at times the production value does feel ‘streaming original’.
Statham does what he does best. Cocky swagger, geezer pleasing dispatching of the bad guys, and zero tension or dispute of who is going to come out on top of a duel. Hugh Grant and Cary Elwes both ham it up appropriately - the former channeling his performance in the The Gentlemen and the latter a stuffy, pompous level of snark. Aubrey Plaza is effortlessly cool, quirky and charming, Bugzy Malone is… here and Josh Hartnett flexes his comedic muscles brilliantly as the spoilt, bumbling action movie star.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is a fun distraction that is perfectly fine viewing if you are in the mood for a jolt of Statham led action thrills. The goofy, big scale ridiculousness is easy to lock into and the cast are clearly having a good time. However, it certainly doesn’t stand out from the pack from a narrative standpoint, you get the sense elements could have been pushed further and you will be consistently reminded of better genre flicks.