Hugh Grant is in his villain era and it’s the best thing about this movie– combined with Aubrey Plaza’s quirky humor, the film is an easy watch.
Guy Ritchie, known for films such as “Snatch” and two “Sherlock Holmes” films, is a competent filmmaker with films that are shiny, fun, comedic and never waste a moment. They often leave audiences feeling perfectly chuffed. However, it seems many of them are cursed to be disregarded practically as soon as they are released.
Many of his films never find a place in popular culture, while other less quality films do. “The Gentlemen” (2019), despite a fantastic cast and a fun premise, is hardly remembered by anyone. While it would have been nice to see more of Ritchie’s work favored the way “Snatch” was, “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” will likely be no different. It may be that Ritchie’s stylish take on action films aren’t bold or creative enough to stand out, but “Operation Fortune” deserves a chance from audiences. It boasts a stacked cast, funny quips, solid action and sleek editing – but will anyone be talking about it in the next five days, let alone the next five years? Based on his track record, it probably won’t.
The film doesn’t beat around the bush and we are immediately introduced to the cast of characters we will be with for the duration of the movie in a fast-paced way. Nathan (Cary Elwes) recruits Orson Fortune (Jason Statham), JJ (Bugsy Malone) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) to investigate a mysterious item that is being sold at an exorbitantly high price. They must infiltrate billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds’ (Hugh Grant) inner circle to find out more. But, it can’t be done without the help of naive movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Harnett), with whom Simmonds is obsessed, spurring an enjoyable (if unoriginal) bromance.
This film is packed full of punches, curse words, guns, cool cars and suave outfits. It hits the beats of a classic spy film but it doesn’t take itself so seriously. It doesn’t go five minutes without some type of gag or banter; which is believable due to most of the actors having good chemistry. Jason Statham plays a British hard-edged action-hero who never runs out of jokes – something he does best. He makes shooting a man in the foot funny and classy.
Aubrey Plaza brings her own unusual sense of humor to Ritchie’s more conventional witticism. Her deadpan comedic dialogue plays well off of Statham. Hugh Grant is hilarious and hugely enjoyable to watch as the billionaire and Josh Hartnett sells the goofy actor-turned-spy who hilariously finds the whole situation stressful. Ensemble casts have a tendency to get messy, but each character has their place – though it would have been nice to get more of Bugsy Malone and Cary Elwes.
Finer plot points were ignored, and many events were simply glossed over in dialogue rather than shown– which felt a bit clunky at times, but helped keep the movie moving. While the pacing was efficient, it did feel rather long. This could be due to the nature of the plot being fairly simple yet drawn out, as they spent practically the whole film conning Hugh Grant.
I don’t personally love action films – it’s easy for my eyes to gloss over two bland buff guys fist fighting for five minutes. This film thankfully didn’t really have that problem. The fights were brief and the comedy carried over; no action sequence was too stripped back and serious. You could always count on Statham to make a funny remark each time he was engaged in a fight. It’s not particularly artistic, but the stacked cast and fun style make it worth it.