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'Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre' review: A breezy, old-school Guy Ritchie action romp

Courtesy of Lionsgate


Nobody directs brutes, bullets, and espionage quite like Guy Ritchie. The stylized filmmaker’s signature traits are on full display in his long delayed “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre,” a mindless action thriller that features a wound-up Jason Statham (and an even stranger, but welcome Hugh Grant performance) globetrotting alongside Aubrey Plaza, Josh Harnett, and Cary Elwes as they try to capture a technological Macguffin with world altering capabilities. Richie enjoys making ensemble pictures and his crew in “Operation Fortune” have the right amount of swagger to make for a breezy afternoon watch. It’s one of those movies nobody will remember, but won’t hate themselves for going along with the ride. 

The punchy script, co-written by Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, and Marn Davies, features plenty of witty dialogue, close escapes, and skull-cracking action to complement the British director’s respectable catalog of films, and nowadays with original action films being watered down, it’s nice to see the “Snatch” filmmaker hasn’t lost his touch. Statham, reteaming with his “Wrath of Man” director, plays Orson Fortune, a bulky government operative tasked with locating something called “The Handle,” which was just stolen from a top secret facility in South Africa. 

Given full resources to retrieve the $10 billion valued artifact that, of course, if put into the wrong hands could cause global chaos, Orson assembles a cracker jack team of black ops agents to help him. Orson recruits the brilliant Sarah Fidel (Plaza) and tech guru J.J. Davies (Bugzy Malone) for the mission that involves them intersecting with known billionaire Greg Simmonds (Grant - in one of his hammiest performances). Greg is the only source with knowledge of “The Handle’s” whereabouts, but considering his tight security detail, Orson and co will have to get creative at the expense of their boss (played by Elwes) to try and get the intel. 

Lucky for them, Greg has an unhealthy obsession with celebrities, including A-list movie star Danny Francesco (Hartnett - towing a healthy balance between camp and seriousness), of whom they employ to help with the cause. It sets the stage for various showdowns, bloody brawls, and double crosses. In other words, just a normal day at the office for Guy Ritchie and his rag-tag filmmaking crew. “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” was never going to swing the pendulum toward the upper echelon of action farces, but that its premise is sturdy and reliable enough to give this solid cast some leash for nearly two hours should not go unnoticed. You could do worse. 

Grade: B 

OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE is now playing in theaters. 


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