Guy Ritchie’s latest spy film doesn’t stand out
“Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre” is pretty indistinguishable from every other spy franchise trying to be the next James Bond or Mission Impossible.
Operation Fortune begins with a montage, but not of the typical heist that opens spy films like these. Rather it’s just clips of a man, Nathan (Cary Elwes), strolling through hallways on his way to meet government high-up Norman (Eddie Marsan) who has a job for Nathan. Nathan must assemble a team to retrieve some heavily guarded cargo that was stolen, but nobody knows what the cargo is.
Nathan assembles a team of Orson Fortune (Jason Stratham), the superspy who demands perks like vintage wine, Sarah, Aubrey Plaza as the sardonic hacker and semi-femme-fatale, and JJ, rapper Bugzy Malone as the sniper and right-hand man. They are later joined by Josh Hartnett as Danny Francesco, a movie star in way over his head.They must recover the cargo, referred to as “The Handle,” before it is sold by billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant).
Despite clocking in at less than two hours, the film feels like it goes on forever, and the action scenes are lackluster. The use of jarring POV shots in shootout sceness later in the film is ineffective, and the film is remarkably bloodless despite the film receiving an R-rating. If there were more interesting kills, bigger explosions, and crazier fight scenes, perhaps that could make up for the flimsy plot, but it’s unfortunately uncreative.
The setup is pretty standard for a spy movie, but the one thing that sets Operation Fortune apart (aside from its overlong title) from the rest is its star-studded cast. Aubrey Plaza provides some comic relief. As usual, she plays herself, but her dry sarcasm doesn’t fit with Ritchie’s sense of humor, which often comes off like a child who just learned to swear. At times, the whole film just seems to be an elaborate excuse to get her to star in a spy movie.
Hugh Grant is one of the only actors who seems to be having a good time, and his character’s fawning over Francesco and Sarah is one of the more entertaining aspects of the film.
At times it feels like the movie is missing something important, and that probably is the case. The film was initially scheduled to be released around this time last year, but was pushed back as the bad guys in the film were Ukrainian gangsters. Producers felt it would be in poor taste to present them as villains in light of the invasion of Ukraine happening at the time. Thus, the release date was pushed back and cuts were made, likely removing some of the exposition that would have made motivations clear. Thus, there’s no big bad guy besides Simmonds, who doesn’t seem dangerous enough to fill the role.
Due to the underdeveloped plot, the twists and turns that occur later in the movie aren’t shocking or effective, as audiences weren’t very invested in the first place. Twists are either far too predictable or too far out of left field. It seems like Ritchie is just trying to fill more screen time, while viewers are just waiting for things to end.
“Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre” was released on Mar. 3 and is now playing in theaters, including Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX and AMC Wheaton Mall 9.
Josey Merolli. Hey, I'm Josey (she/her) and I'm entertainment editor! More »