Berkreviews OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE (2023)

Guy Ritchie has a big couple of months, with Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre out now and The Covenant coming out in April. His filmography has had many early ups and many more downs in recent years, but Wrath of Man gave a glimpse of hope that he has fully seized with Operation Fortune. The first part of the film is a massive exposition dump, with Cary Elwes playing a slightly more serious version of Basal Exposition from Austin Powers. He and Eddie Marsan are discussing his team, whose mission is to retrieve the MacGuffin for the government. However, once the familiar government organization information dump is over, the film takes on a fun pace, with characters that are exciting to watch. 

Jason Statham, a Ritchie regular going way back, plays Orson Fortune, who leads the team comprised of Aubrey Plaza and Bugzy Malone. Elwes oversees all of it, and the witty back and forth between the team makes for some great moments. In fact, Bugzy’s character of J.J. has some of the best sidekick character one-liners in these types of movies, making him instantly endearing. The team has to recruit a Hollywood superstar played by Josh Hartnett – who is also terrific – so they can sneak onto a billionaire fanboy’s party. Who is that billionaire fanboy? Well, none other than Hugh Grant, who is absolutely having a blast in the later stages of his career. 

While the first part of the film isn’t bad, it really doesn’t click until they get on the yacht. Statham seems to be a love-him or hate-him kind of actor. I’ve always been a bit of a fan – and while not all of his movies work for me, his performance usually does. Statham’s character hates his job but is so good at it that he manipulates the system every chance he can. The tension between Statham and Elwes is ripe with great bits, as they drink expensive wine from the private plane that Statham requires. 

This movie also shares a plot point with last year’s The Extreme Weight of Massive Talent regarding Grant and Hartnett’s characters. A famous actor initially rejects a request to appear at a billionaire’s birthday party, only to reconsider after being approached by a government agency. While initially apprehensive about the whole relationship, it doesn’t take long for the billionaire to win over the actor. It doesn’t play out exactly the same, of course. To be fair to this movie, it was supposed to come out last year. Fortunately for audiences, both films are good. 

These characters could become a film franchise that would ultimately be a slightly less serious Mission: Impossible. Only time will tell if Orson Fortune will get his own franchise- but if it does, I’ll be there on opening night. This movie was tons of fun, and Hugh Grant chewing the scenery as a villain never gets old. Ritchie still has a knack for movies, and Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre only stands to prove it. 

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is now playing in theaters everywhere in the US as of March 3. 

Rating: Decent Watch.

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