Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2022)

Genres - Action, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 3, 2023 (USA)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Steven Yoder

Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) directs and co-writes with Ivan Atkinson (Wrath of Man) and Marn Davies (The Gentlemen) on Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Once again, teaming up with Jason Statham, the whole cast and crew work together to produce something fun and somewhat unique.

Every government has its own special ops team. But for the UK, sometimes, even they aren't sensitive enough. That's when Nathan Jasmine (Cary Elwes) calls Orson Fortune (Statham) and his team. When a dangerous commodity, so sensitive that no intelligence can identify it, is stolen, it is up to Orson and his team to recover it before it is sold. To get close to the Hollywood-obsessed billionaire weapons broker, Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant), they recruit Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett). Together, he and tech operative Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza) manage to get inside Simmond's camp and discover that the situation is worse than anyone imagined. That's where Orson and the team's other wet operative, JJ Davies (Bugzy Malone), come in, hatching an elaborate scheme to bring everything down without losing any team members.

The script is good fun and not excessively violent in comparison to other films in the spy genre. However, it does seem rushed at the beginning and end. There isn't much character development or background included - they do what they do because it IS what they do. This is reminiscent of spy spoofs like In Like Flint and Austin Powers and sometimes seems intentional. It works for those films, but audiences will likely expect more since this is an action-comedy rather than going primarily for humor. They'll probably get it since the film is set up to bring a bunch of characters, including unlikely new team members, together as a franchise. Despite some story flaws, this isn't a bad thing. Statham seems comfortable in the role of Orson, and he even leaves the driving to Hartnett. Plaza's portrayal of Sarah leaves the viewer wanting to know more about the character. The most enjoyable performances are from the veterans - Elwes and Grant. Both portrayals are just close enough to over-the-top without falling off the other side that filmgoers won't know if they're in on the joke or part of it. Without either of them, the comedy element would not work as well as it does.

There isn't anything unique about the special effects, and the music is barely noticeable. This is another welcome way the film differs from action films that tend to be loud and obnoxious on both counts. The settings are lavish, with sweeping yet brief views of several countries, as well as highly detailed scenes of luxury.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre will probably disappoint The Fast and the Furious fans. But they should still give it a chance. It is fun, entertaining, and a great combination of everything that makes spy films and subtle comedies great. As a more serious version of other spy farce films, it is deceptively good.