Film Review – Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023)

Title – Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023)

Director – Guy Ritchie (Swept Away) 

Cast – Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant, Josh Hartnett, Bugzy Malone

Plot – Unconventional government agent operative Orson Fortune (Statham) and his colorful crew must uncover the mystery behind notorious arms dealer Greg Simmonds (Grant) latest undertaking with the crew enlisting the support of Hollywood heavyweight Danny Francesco (Hartnett) to help their cause. 

“The movie star is going to melt” 

Review by Eddie on 13/01/2023

Facing lengthy delays in release following the current war in the Ukraine, with key parts of the films plotline involving Ukrainian antagonists, Guy Ritchie’s seemingly forgotten about Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre finds the colourful director back on familiar ground with an equally familiar partner in crime in the form of Jason Statham but while on paper everything here points to another The Gentleman/The Man from U.N.C.L.E like Ritchie venture, sadly Operation feels like nothing more than a pale imitation of the British filmmakers best work.

Delivering mild distractions and occasionally featuring the directional flair that made Ritchie one of the most interesting directors to establish himself in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Operation is an odd effort from Ritchie who has all the tools at his disposal here to make sure this venture has the same pizazz and smarts as his newly minted cult favourite The Gentleman or his classics Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrell’s but is unable to elevate Operation to anything more than a fast-moving escapade that fails to maximize its premise, locations, cast or budget allocation.

Following the escapades of Jason Statham’s suavely named wine loving holiday taking Orson Fortune and his crack team of special agent operatives that includes Audrey Plaza’s scene-stealing Sarah, Bugzy Malone’s impeccably dressed JJ and Cary Elwes minder Nathan as the crew try and uncover what Hugh Grant’s arms-dealing Greg Simmonds is up to on the black market with the team enlisting the help of Josh Hartnett’s Hollywood heartthrob Danny Francesco to help out their cause, Operation is an over the top and globe-spanning action comedy that Ritchie on peak form could’ve turned into a crowd-pleasing and critically appreciated sleeper hit but here on finished product is likely to find his Wrath of Man follow up failing to inspire much interest in any market.

One glaring aspect of Operation’s middling nature can be traced back to Operation’s script that Ritchie worked on alongside Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, with the director’s often whip-smart and often genuinely quotable snips and quips only rarely shining here in an otherwise undercooked piece of screenwriting that leaves little room for its talented actors to do much of note with their characters or their wisecracking and while Statham is typically Stathamly, outside of Plaza’s off-kilter Sarah and Grant’s scene chewing Simmonds, Operation fails to give us the type of memorable players we have previously found in Ritchie’s best crime/action comedies.

In an age where it feels as though the big screen comedy is a dying breed, it would have been fantastic to see Operation find it’s mojo in a much more notable way and while the film appears to come alive in a bigger way in its late act stages, for much of Operation’s runtime you’ll be hard pressed to find much worth getting excited about, a shame when you know the man behind the whole affair can often provide the type of fun and showmanship the film is too frequently lacking.

Final Say –

A watchable and mildly entertaining distraction, Operation Fortune feels like Ritchie on sleepwalking mode as the director fails to utilize all the tools at his disposal that could have easily lead to a much more memorable outing than what we get here.

2 1/2 expensive bottles of wine out of 5

4 responses to “Film Review – Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023)

  1. really keen to watch this, but there’s no sign of it on the current release schedule for our cinemas. Still… Plane turned up without any notice or promotion, so may this might do the same.
    Otherwise, will have to wait until it hits streaming (a couple of weeks?)
    And at least I know why you’d put this as from the ‘Swept Away’ Guy Ritchie instead of any of his other movies right at the top.

    • It’s mind boggling too me everytime I think of Ritchie that he made Swept Away!

      It’s also odd that this one has been so messed around in release schedules with company mergers. Appears to have a 100+ million dollar budget but looks like a streaming release for the USA and U.K.

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