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Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (2023) – Review

March 1, 2023

Quick Thoughts – Grade – B – Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is a breezy crime caper that will put a smile on your face. 

The best thing about the spy comedy Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is that it has no interest in matching the bombastic exploits of the Mission: Impossible films, and could care less about the self-seriousness of the James Bond franchise. This is a good thing because it ditches the weight of massive expectations and can simply focus on telling a story about super spies being super awesome while Hugh Grant steals the show as the charismatic villain. It’s the kind of rewatchable film that earns its rewatchability because it features no massive twists, zero tragedies, and focuses on well-dressed people taking part in episodic exploits in exotic locations. If you go in expecting a mid-tier Ritchie film that will make for a pleasant viewing experience, you can’t go wrong because there’s a lot to like about Operation Fortune. 

 After knocking it out of the park with The Gentlemen and getting heavy with Wrath of Man, director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla, The Gentlemen, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) has eschewed organized crime stories loaded with monologues, bespoke suits, and more monologues, and instead focuses on traveling around the world with his friends while telling the story of a super spy named Orson Fortune (Jason Statham – looking totally comfortable) putting together a super squad to prevent some terrorist nonsense. He’s recruited by his British handler Nathan Jasmine (Cary Elwes) to stop Greg Simmons (Hugh Grant), a billionaire arms broker who is currently brokering a big deal involving dangerous weapons. Fortune recruits Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza), JJ Davis (Bugzy Malone) and A-list actor Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to travel with him to Simmons’ massive compound so that they can figure out his plan while looking awesome in tailored outfits. 

The plot and action takes a backseat to the performances of the core cast who clearly enjoy looking awesome while saying zippy dialogue. The script by Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson (Wrath of Man), and Marn Davies (Wrath of Man) works best when it focuses on the comedic moments of the crew as they drink expensive wine, insult each other, and sneak around Jasmine’s compound looking to hack his computers. There is zero tension throughout and that isn’t a bad thing because it isn’t really needed. The best moments involve Bugzy Malone reacting to excellent wine, and Aubrey Plaza looking like she’s legitimately shaking Statham’s confidence while they argue. There’s some nonsense involving a rival crew but none of that is important. What is important is that Grant and Hartnett are fun together, and it’s been a blast watching Grant be villainous in movies like The Gentlemen, Paddington 2, and Operation Fortune

The biggest issue with Operation Fortune is the occasionally wonky editing that cuts a bit rough and can take you out of scenes. Also, characters disappear for large chunks of the movie which suggests a lot more was shot, and then left on the cutting room floor. It’s quite disjointed at moments, but it never takes away from the overall enjoyment of watching Hugh Grant clearly enjoy himself. 

Final thoughtsOperation Fortune is an entertaining spy romp that features likable actors being likable.

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