Review: Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre

Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, co-written by Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies. Special agent Orson Fortune and his team of operatives recruit one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars to help them on an undercover mission when the sale of a deadly new weapons technology threatens to disrupt the world order. Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant, Josh Hartnett, Bugzy Malone, Eddie Marsan, Peter Ferdinando, Nicholas Facey, Lourdes Faberes, Ian Bartholomew, Sam Douglas, Ergun Kuyucu, Tom Rosenthal and Oliver Maltman.

When a film takes so long to come out, we start to believe we’ve been tricked and it was all an elaborate ruse, quite fitting for a film called Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre but it’s finally here and very much real. If you’re walking into a film that’s directed by Guy Ritchie and featuring Jason Statham, you know what you’re in for, these films are all about entertainment value. It is not about creating a ridiculously complex plot, it’s about having fun and it achieves that. The pacing can be a little bit slow and it’s maybe longer than it needed to be but it’s a really enjoyable group of characters and a spy meets heist style adventure.

A film like this hinges upon the cast, the comedy isn’t going anywhere unless it has the right firepower behind it. Aubrey Plaza is that hired gun, she holds almost the entire sense of humour of Operation Fortune but she has solid backup in Statham. The two have a nicely fraught relationship, filled with an amusing resentment and one-upmanship. Hugh Grant is back on the cockney gangster train, it’s not the best thing he’s ever done but it’s always lovely to see him playing around with different characters. Josh Hartnett is a slight surprise here, his energy is excellent and the slightly meta actor playing an actor, playing himself actually works really well. Bugzy Malone is another unexpected delight, he works so well with everyone involved and it’s only a shame he doesn’t get more involved in the story. Although whoever cast Tom Rosenthal as an American tech mogul was either confused or having an off day cause it’s not a good match, he’s a great actor but this just isn’t for him.

Now while all of that works and creates a fun watch, where Operation Fortune is truly let down is by the visual. A lot of Guy Ritchie films have a superb banter and energy to their atmosphere, there’s personality to the direction, this is not one of them. A big part of that is the cinematography is not up to a good enough standard, there’s a dullness about the colour and feel of the aesthetic. There’s so many shots that could have had a fantastic detail and vitality to them, to bring a slick feel and they all fall short. The foundation in Ritchie’s direction is there, it does what it needs to do but the overall feel of the visual can’t match the tone he’s going for and it genuinely holds the film back.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre sounds as though it should be absolutely ridiculous but surprisingly, it’s a really good time. Building around such a great mix of actors means that the elements of the film which fall short, have a safety net. Even if it is slow or not as vibrant as hoped, having someone who brings such a phenomenal presence like Aubrey Plaza evens things out. It comes down to what you’re expecting to get out of it, if you’re just looking for a fun, entertaining easy watch then you’re in the right place.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

Out in the US March 3

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