If you are a fan of Guy Ritchie's recent output, which includes The Gentlemen and Wrath of Man, then you will find plenty to enjoy in Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre. Teaming back up with Jason Statham, the film is a slick spy caper. While it has a familiar plot, the cast helps to elevate this into a breezy, fun affair.
It's great to see Ritchie returning back to his crime roots after some big-budget projects that seemed to wipe away the flourishes for which Ritchie made a name, looking at you Aladdin. Statham is dependably gruff but Ritchie has a way of bringing out the best of his gruffness. Here, Statham plays a spy named Orson Fortune. He is tasked with stealing a briefcase that has something in it. Seriously, no one knows what is inside other than it threatens the world's security. He assembles a team under the guidance of Cary Elwes that includes Aubrey Plaza and Bugzy Malone. They must get the case from billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). They enlist Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), a Hollywood action star who Simmonds is obsessed with to help them infiltrate his villa. So yes, this is a pretty basic spy operation plot but Ritchie has fun with it, injecting plenty of humor and panache into the proceedings.
Hugh Grant walks away with Operation Fortune, much like he did in The Gentlemen and even Paddington 2. He is at a point in his career where he wants to have fun with every role he takes on. His scenery chewing is particularly welcomed here, giving the film a distinct villain. Even with a strong cast, he stands out. Plaza and Elwes are wonderful additions to Guy Ritchie's stable of actors. Plaza brings wit and verve to her part as Sarah Fidel, the tech and comms genius. She in particular elevates the dialogue into something snappy even though the script is the weakest element here.
While the script stumbles through its plot and cribs liberally, the action is satisfying. Statham is an old-school action star who likes to do his own stunt work and can sell fistfights and throwdowns. Ritchie adds a choreographed tightness to the action. We never worry too much about Fortune and whether he will win each fight but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment.
While the script is shoddy, Operation Fortune is still an R-rated action flick worth seeking out in the first quarter of the year. We don't get many of these types of films and so it is worth seeking this one out. The actors have a blast and while Operation Fortune isn't particularly original, it is frothy and fun.