Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Distributed by: Lionsgate

Written by Alexander Reams


When the words “troubled production” are spoken, it’s like a hex, a promise that a film will be bad because the making of it was rough. Guy Ritchie’s latest action fare was originally supposed to be released almost 15 months ago on January 21, 2022, and then with very little press, it was pulled from the schedule, the reason why turned out to be the invasion of Ukraine. As some of the film’s antagonists are of Ukrainian nationality, the distributors surely thought releasing it would’ve been in poor taste, but it also left a lot of questions about the movie hanging, the main one being “where did this go?” There was a trailer and the film looked to be another winner for Ritchie and Jason Statham. The radio silence from the studios led to speculation of the quality and if Ritchie was starting to show signs of fatigue after a very busy few years, and unfortunately, that may be the case. “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” is Ritchie’s weakest film in quite some time.

The underlying problem with “Operation Fortune” is that it feels phoned in. There’s an insincerity with the way everything looks, not as in bad effects, but the lighting of backgrounds, the villain’s mansion looks droll but is supposed to present royalty. The boat party where Francesco (Josh Hartnett) is first introduced to Simmonds (Hugh Grant) is framed in a confusing manner, characters move from screen left to screen right, falling into the jump cut trap, to not break this requires vision, focus, even the finale fails to provide depth, alternatingly focused solely on Orson taking bad guys out and JJ providing support. Ritchie has typically had a fantastic depth to his frames, such in  “Sherlock Holmes” where he continually used active backgrounds to trick the viewer into finding where Sherlock would hide. There is no sign of that Guy Ritchie in “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre,” there aren’t many wides that establish the action and the location, the few that do appear on screen are like breadcrumbs being laid out to lead the viewer to something, but we end up led toward nothing. 

The roster for Ritchie’s latest is capable, led by Jason Statham’s Orson Fortune, a cliched super spy, in one of Statham’s more comedic roles in recent memory. Unfortunately, it’s a misfire that reduces him to a macho/whiney shell of a character. His leash holder is Cary Elwes’ Nathan Jasmine, who plays well against the smart-ass nature of Fortune.

Much to Fortune’s chagrin, their usual tech man has been replaced by Aubrey Plaza’s Sarah Fidel who stands out like a sore thumb compared to everyone else. Her jokes and bits sometimes feel as if they were made for a different film which makes many of her scenes feel disjointed. Rounding out the cast is Bugzy Malone’s JJ, who turned in my favorite performance of the piece, his comedic timing wasn’t employed much during “The Gentlemen” but it was always clear that he is funny. Ritchie uses that skill to buoy “Operation Fortune” by using him to keep the film generally lighthearted. The bait for their mission is Josh Hartnett, playing Danny Francesco, a movie star that is a personal favorite of English arms dealer Greg Simmonds incidentally becoming their ticket into discovering why Simmonds has an item on the black market that is worth 10 billion dollars. 

“Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” wraps up with a nice, neat little bow, but it doesn’t earn it. Many of Ritchie’s films like, “The Gentlemen,” “Wrath of Man,” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” tie up this way, the difference though is that those films earn that bow. Whereas “Operation Fortune” doesn’t.

“Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” Trailer

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