Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre – Review

Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 54 minutes, Director – Guy Ritchie

A spy (Jason Statham) finds himself quickly leading a new team as he competes with former crew members to stop a billionaire (Hugh Grant) from spreading advanced weapons technology

The central character of Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is called Orson Fortune. Orson Fortune is played Jason Statham. This should be enough to tell you what the film is like. A decent enough actioner with a handful of humour every now and then to help it along. Yet, there may be part of the naming of Orson Fortune which brings about a slightly self-aware nature to the film. Perhaps looking into things a bit too much, but there certainly seems to be a sense of self-awareness during moments where characters say in full seriousness lines such as “turns out there’s a reason they call him the Dark Angel of Merciless Death, Mike!” and “he’s not hot you idiots, he has a heart condition”.

Certainly in the opening stages the cast don’t appear to be taking things completely seriously. There’s a sense of fun to the proceedings as they border on rather enjoyable parody, creating a number of chuckles at the silliness of what’s on display as genre conventions – the likes of which co-writer (alongside Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies) and director Guy Ritchie has played with before – appear to be poked at. Statham and his assembled team, including hacker Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) and Hollywood actor Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) at the fore, are competing with many of his former spy crew as they try to get close to billionaire Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant), who poses the threat of spreading brand new advanced weapons technology around the world.

Throughout Grant’s eccentric, slightly campy performance leans into both the accent and the occasional silliness of the film. He’s the consistent highlight of the film from the moment he first appears on screen. Understanding the tone that the film perhaps should have, and initially lands rather well, it’s hard not to want to gleefully giggle at each line of dialogue which leaves his character’s mouth. While other performances around him might float in and out of seeming to take things seriously – gradually being more in a direct line than anything else, although still bringing about some clearly intentional comedy – there’s still a sign that not all has been lost and that this isn’t all meant to be a straight-faced actioner.

The narrative jumps from place to place with multiple sunny, foreign locations acting as the backdrops to this globetrotting venture and at times through this brings in a sense of familiarity. The lack of self-awareness which appeared to be present beforehand isn’t as prominent here meaning that convention seems to be convention more than anything else. With each new location things begin to feel drawn out and slightly lengthy within the film’s just under two hour run-time. There are still moments of amusement here and there but by not being as unserious as the opening stages might imply the familiarity dilutes the course of the film and make for something slightly less enjoyable as Ritchie settles into comfortable territory. If the self-awareness were present all the way through then this may well be an intensely enjoyable time, but for what is there there’s entertaining, if drawn out, viewing.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre works best when feeling self-aware and those involved provide a knowing wink. It might become familiar territory for Guy Ritchie the more it goes on, but there are still patches of amusement here and there to help move things along.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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