A Guy Ritchie directed spy action movie with Jason Statham in the lead? Surely that’s as much of a guaranteed mix as some basic staples that result in permanently reliable cookies?
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre has certainly followed the recipe, but the resultant bite gives away that perhaps someone forgot to add the sugar.
What Is Operation Fortune About?
Orson Fortune (Statham, The Meg) is an unrecognised government contractor, hired for jobs where some precision guns can go a long way.
When a mysterious device known as The Handle is stolen and put up for sale for an obscene amount of money, Fortune is given a team and told to get to work.
The above could be any movie ever, of course. It’s the twin selling points of RITCHIE and STATHAM that promise much. Guy Ritchie’s directorial style has its detractors, but he’s usually a solid bet for some kinetic fun.
Similarly Statham’s brooding presence can fall afoul of the occasional sleepwalk, but there is no doubt that his swaggering charm can elevate even the most bog-standard of scripts. So, what happened?
Primarily Operation Fortune struggles to make the best use of its cast. It’s always a delight to see Cary Elwes and his suave ‘handler’ role works well against Statham’s rugged machismo.
Josh Hartnett greases in as Hollywood star Danny Francesco recruited against his will as leverage and his discomfort mines good comedy material.
Aubrey Plaza (The White Lotus) has the word ‘sass’ stamped on her ‘tech person’ character. Plaza seems to quickly throw away her tiresome outbursts of sexual dialogue so she can pivot to effectively exuding distilled attitude in her other scenes.
Taken individually there is nothing wrong there, but collectively they don’t gel.
Operation Fortune Official Trailer
Is Operation Fortune Worth Watching?
Ritchie makes Fortune hostile to his new team from the get-go but this never builds into essential rapport (Bugzy Malone manages a couple of snippets at best).
Similarly, the threat from billionaire arms dealer Hugh Grant is an odd one. Grant’s soft cockney intonation promises explosions into ruthless violence that never materialise.
Operation Fortune shifts its villain around like swirled sand, missing the grit needed to cause any pain.
Fatally though, Operation Fortune is bereft of Guy Ritchie. The Man From U.N.C.L.E oozed so much style that it won out over its weaker parts.
The much maligned King Arthur: Legend of the Sword still had a killer score plus a sublime ‘growing up’ montage that added the razzle dazzle. This time around though, you’d be hard-pressed to find any signature Ritchie flair anywhere.
The actions sequences – which are fewer than you’d think – slip in to get the job done, then slip out again. Statham’s extremely present physicality goes underused which negates that selling point.
A smattering of scenes tick through the usual suspects: chase sequence, gun fight, punch up. These workhorse moments give the movie enough energy to keep chugging along yet lack any fist in the air moments to lodge in the memory.
Fortune favours the brave, but there is little bravery to be found in this production.
Words by Mike Record
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