Guy Ritchie is starting to become an established name in the espionage genre. Thanks to projects like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and the upcoming The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, his rapid fire wit and action chops have been applied to situations where the fate of the world is in the balance. With Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, Ritchie finds himself reunited with collaborators like Jason Statham and Hugh Grant, taking on the world of spies once more with feeling. What results is a seriously funny movie that balances its humor with moments of intense action, carrying both sides of the equation with that trademark Guy Ritchie flair.
Things start off fast and to the point from the moment the logos fade, as a concerning theft from a research facility has left the British government with great, top secret concerns. We don’t know what’s stolen at first, only that it’s a big enough job that Orson Fortune (Jason Staham) is recruited into action to retrieve the goods and make the buyer. That mission will require a team that Orson can trust (Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone) and the aid of a reluctant movie star (Josh Hartnett) who can help the team get to some key players involved.
Release Date: March 3, 2023
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Guy Ritchie and Ivan Atkinson & Marn Davies
Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, and Hugh Grant
Rating: R, for language and violence
Of course, the traditional hang-ups will be present throughout Operation Fortune, as this is a Guy Ritchie movie after all. There will be betrayals, subterfuge, and some cleverly edited flashbacks that provide details we didn’t see the first time out. Though this is a movie where Ritchie is playing around with elements he’s always been comfortable with, the man does so with a lens that’s more serious than you’d think. That approach allows both the laughs and the thrills to land as powerfully as one of Jason Statham’s punches; and you’ve seen how that dude can punch.
A more comedic take on Mission: Impossible-style spying, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre isn’t as silly as it’s sold itself to be.
On the outside, Operation Fortune looks like it’d be at home with one of Ritchie’s more comedic affairs; especially when promising some well played verbal sparring between Aubrey Plaza and various members of the cast. Though there is a strong current of humor that makes this Mission: Impossible-style caper as fun as it should be, the co-writer/director of this picture doesn’t skimp on serious thrills.
Laughter is only part of the picture here, as the stakes of the catastrophe that Orson Fortune and his team are trying to stop is treated as deadly serious when it needs to be. A scene that sees Jason Statham’s operative engaging in a vital infiltration exercise that’ll put his team ahead of their foes shows just how exacting the tone of Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre happens to be. What starts with Statham’s character getting distracted by a movie on TV shifts into serious thievery, which then finishes with Plaza and Statham debating semantics and architecture.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre walks between the tones of humor and peril rather adeptly, and it’s thanks to Guy Ritchie working once again with writers Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies. Both collaborators have been on hand to sculpt the plots to Ritchie’s last two movies, The Gentlemen and Wrath of Man, and the confidence of this team shows throughout this latest endeavor. Which, in turn, further highlights the abilities of the crack team of actors put together to take it off the page.
The Guy Ritchie stable continues to flourish with another amazing ensemble and some strong, sharp pacing.
Guy Ritchie’s stable of recurring actors is something that’s always exciting to follow, as he seems to pick up new friends on a regular basis. Jason Statham’s continued work with his Lock, Stock, and Two Smokin’ Barrels helmer was naturally the strongest connection going into Operation Fortune, and their work together once again does not disappoint. The same should be said for Eddie Marsan and Bugzy Malone, both of whom are returning Team Ritchie players that help hold down the fort most admirably.
Showing off the strong casting game that’s been present throughout his career, Guy Ritchie has really outdone himself by bringing the likes of Aubrey Plaza and Cary Elwes on board. Plaza’s computer expert Sarah Fidel is one of several parcels of comedic dynamite going off in Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Not only does she get to match wits with Jason Statham’s Orson, but she also serves as a comedic foil for Josh Hartnett (whose Danny Francesco is yet another hilarious try hard in the Ritchie-verse) as well as Hugh Grant.
Needless to say, Grant is firing on all cylinders as well, injecting the character of arms dealer Greg Simmons with the right amount of charm and menace to sell any given moment. Mixing sleaze with a more sinister nature, Hugh Grant could be the very pivot point of the dual tones to the story at hand, especially when delivering a Ritchie-esque monologue that gives the third act a nice boost in the middle of all the action.
Just as the story knows how to navigate the lines of humor and hard action, the ensemble of performers in Operation Fortune read those lines very carefully. At times, this picture feels like it stops on a dime, only to turn in another direction and start zooming away into the distance. The energy is never forced, and in a sense Orson Fortune and his team outdo their spying competition by showing the audience one continued mission, step by step, without ever rushing or belaboring any particular point.
With Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, Guy Ritchie has yet again proven he’s one of the masters working in the espionage genre today.
At this point, everyone probably wants Guy Ritchie to either submit his resume for a Mission: Impossible movie, or even a James Bond adventure. It’s hard not to dream of those scenarios when Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre does so well with pacing its story and providing engaging characters, while also keeping the stakes firmly in sight. 25 years after directing his breakout film with Jason Statham, Ritchie has yet again proven he’s got the spy genre figured out.
With a structure and team that takes the Mission movies and marries it with some 007 style humor and plottery, Operation Fortune is a welcomed addition to the canon of espionage movies. It’s tempting to want to see a new franchise for Guy Ritchie to return to, as the film does tip its hand towards potential plans for the future, and in a very Man From U.N.C.L.E. fashion. At the same time, it’s the roving nature of his filmography that’s given Ritchie the chance to develop such skilled precision. So something new is just as much of a welcomed prospect.
It’s at least comforting to know that another Guy Ritchie movie has landed, with all of the entertainment and electricity you’d expect. Growing his stable of acting collaborators, one would hope that Aubrey Plaza and Cary Elwes will start to show up more often, alongside the likes of Jason Statham and the rest of the family that’s come on board through the years. Operation Fortune is a rich spy caper that cashes in every chip it has with such glee that it’s only further evidence as to why Ritchie should continue to play the spy game on a regular basis.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.