Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre could have been a run-of-the-mill action comedy but the genius comes in casting the film. Plus, Aubrey Plaza steals the show.
“Ruse de Guerre” is a term that continually comes up throughout the film. It is a French team meaning an unorthodox approach to warfare. Naturally, he’s the only spy good enough for the job. The fun part in watching the film is that they find the tone early on. Spy comedies can run in a few directions–spoof the genre altogether or find some middle ground. This one falls into the latter so it’s not close to being in Get Smart territory.
Nathan (Cary Elwes) must bring in Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) to stop a piece of technology from getting into the wrong hands. Of course, he must also fulfil Orson’s medicinal requirements. Orson’s team includes cyber-tech genius Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza) and comms/weapons/driving guy JJ (Bugzy Malone). You have to bring in the best in order to get the job done. As soon as they learn that reclusive billionaire Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant) is involved, they come up with a plan to bait him using Hollywood action star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett). What we know is that if “The Handle” gets into the wrong hands, it could be disaster for everyone. That’s where this team comes into play.
Oh yeah, there’s also some competition in town: Mike (Peter Ferdinando). Mike does not make it easy for Orson and his team. It does make for some nice comedic set pieces. I will not get into the particulars but this film certainly has some fun with it.
Like any spy film, this action comedy takes us on a globe-trotting adventure. And somehow, they even find a way to make the hit BJ Thomas song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” sexier than it has any right to be. Trust me–you have to see this film just to believe what’s happening on the screen. Meanwhile, Aubrey Plaza is on something of a roll during the past year and it’s going to continue with Operation Fortune. Someone is going to watch her performance in this film, cast her, and really surprise us with a future performance. Personally, it’s not shocking to me but I had a fun time watching the film.
By this point, we know what to expect from a Guy Ritchie film. It’s a reunion for him and Jason Statham so they have the necessary chemistry to work well together. He also brings back some of his regulars, including Malone, Hartnett, Eddie Marsan, and Hugh Grant. Both Plaza and Elwes are newcomers to the Guy Ritchie universe. But anyway, they have Hugh Grant playing against type and the universe is all the better for it. I absolutely love Grant in this role. Everyone appears to be having fun when they have to against opposite him. In general, the entire cast is having fun. There’s a part of me that wants to see a sequel.
It’s been a bumpy path for the film’s release in the US. The film was supposed to arrive in early 2022 but got pulled because of having Ukrainian bad guys. The STX restructuring would mean pulling the film from release altogether in 2022. It was only in February 2023 before Lionsgate acquired the rights to release in the US. This brings us to where we are now–a new Guy Ritchie/Jason Statham film going up against Creed III. In a perfect universe, a Guy Ritchie film would be the big draw of the weekend but after all of it’s release days, will anyone even want to see it? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Per the film’s end credits, they did some filming in Qatar. Take it for what it is.
DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
SCREENWRITERS: Guy Ritchie and Ivan Atkinson & Marn Davies
CAST: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, Peter Ferdinando, with Eddie Marsan and Hugh Grant
Lionsgate will release Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre in theaters on March 3, 2023. Grade: 3.5/5
Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.