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Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre

By Alan Ng | March 6, 2023

NOW IN THEATERS! Recognizable stars and cool action sequences are not the only ingredients needed to make a good movie. How about making the audience care about something, anything that happens on the screen? Director Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre, which he co-wrote with Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, is a prime example of a lost opportunity.

The world is in danger when a terrorist organization steals an item from a covert lab. No one knows who stole it, what was stolen, why, or who is buying it. All they know is that shady middle-man Greg (Hugh Grant) is facilitating the sale. Leading the investigation and extraction is intelligence agent Nathan (Cary Elwes). He puts together a crew led by reluctant Oscar Fortune (Jason Statham), who must end his month-long mental health vacation early. Joining Fortune is computer expert Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) and jack-of-all-trade J.J. (Bugzy Malone).

The plan is “simple.” The team will infiltrate Greg’s operation by recruiting Hollywood actor Danny (Josh Harnett) to be the celebrity “gift” for his birthday. Sarah will pose as Danny’s girlfriend. Greg becomes so infatuated with the actor that he invites them to his vacation villa in the Mediterranean. This is the perfect cover for Sarah to dig through Greg’s network to find the device along with its buyer and seller. Meanwhile, Oscar has to contend with his rival, Mike (Peter Ferdinando), who is also after the same device for a separate government intelligence department.

This supposedly leads to “hilarious” banter between the two former buddies, though “bland” is the best word I could use to describe Operation Fortune. I just didn’t care about anything happening. Its first mistake was keeping the mission a secret from the start. When you don’t know the stakes, why should you care about them?

“…a terrorist organization steals an item from a covert lab. No one knows who stole it, what was stolen, why, or who is buying it.”

On paper, teaming up Jason Statham and Aubrey Plaza together sounds like a fantastic idea, but the chemistry between the two is non-existent. Both did their signature stuff, and that is all. I like Plaza, but she always skates that line between cool and annoying. Here, she was annoying with her continuous biting commentary. Adding veterans Elwes, Harnett, and Marsan is just a wasted opportunity, as they get little to work with. I didn’t know anything about Bugzy Malone beforehand, and I still don’t.

But Operation Fortune is an action movie. So, how are the fisticuffs and shootouts? They couldn’t be any blander. Yes, there is a lot of action, but I don’t remember anything cool until the end. It’s your standard gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and car and motorcycle chases.

The problem is that Ritchie was going for that cool spy-movie swagger with a twist of Ocean’s Eleven. The problem is he never establishes the cool factor properly. There’s this assumption that pairing Statham and Plaza and playing some fantastic music behind them as they outsmart the baddies would be enough. Sadly, it wasn’t. The film lacked a good story to make it cool.

If you’re looking for an action movie, Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre might whet your appetite. But honestly, we deserve more. Bland is a word you never want to hear in reference to an action movie. Unlike porn, you actually want a story. You can’t just string together a series of action scenes and call it a film. It took a lot of discipline for me not to walk out.

Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre (2023)

Directed: Guy Ritchie

Written: Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies

Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Hugh Grant, Josh Hartnett, Bugzy Malone, Carey Elwes, Eddie Marsan, etc.

Movie score: 4/10

Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre Image

"…took a lot of discipline for me not to walk out."

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