Director Guy Ritchie has made a career on style. His latest film, the full-titled version of which is "Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre," has plenty of it...the problem is that the script is a complete dud. This renders its talented ensemble useless, each desperate to breathe life into this dead-on-arrival crime-comedy-thriller, but each - save Hugh Grant - being held back without ever getting a chance to shine.
The result is a movie that feels like it should be cool but isn't...a movie so high on its own supply that it becomes grating, not charismatic, the longer it slogs on.
"Operation Fortune" was supposed to see a January 2022 release, but was pulled from the schedule...reports say it wasn't anything to do with re-working the script or anything (although in retrospect, that might have been a good idea). Instead, the studios thought that it might be in bad taste to release right at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, since the movie featured Ukranian baddies.
At any rate, it's here now, and it's hard to believe this movie could offend anyone. It's light, digestible and breezy, but it's a long way away from "fun."
Jason Statham plays Orson Fortune, a James Bond-type that is hired by Nathan Jasmine (Cary Elwes), who was in turn brought in by the British government, to track down a MacGuffin known as "The Handle." It's currently in the possession of a uber-wealthy arms dealer, the slick and cultured Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Simmonds has a somewhat curious obsession with Hollywood, so the only way that Fortune can get close to him, is to bring in an aloof Hollywood star, Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), whom allows access to Simmonds's world. Brought in to help Fortune is the sharp-shooting J.J. (Bugzy Malone) and computer hacker Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), and the paint-by-numbers spy thriller ensues.
Grant is clearly having fun and the only one who tonally fits the movie...everyone else feels either muted, or like they were given direction for a different film. The script is painfully unfunny, and that is really the missing ingredient...if anything at all about this movie felt the least bit clever, you'd go along with the rest of it. But sadly, cleverness is as elusive as The Handle, when it comes to this total misfire.
"Operation Fortune" could have - should have - been a better movie, and although it thoroughly feels like a Guy Ritchie film, style isn't enough to save this script from itself. Abort! Abort!
Genre: Action, Comedy, Thriller.
Run Time: 1 hour 54 minutes.
Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Hugh Grant, Cary Elwes, Josh Hartnett, Bugzy Malone, Eddie Marsan.
Co-Written and Directed by Guy Ritchie ("Wrath of Man," "Aladdin" (2019), "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," "Sherlock Holmes," "RocknRolla").
"Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre" is in theaters on Friday, March 3rd, 2023.
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