By Andrew Warren, Staff Writer
You may not have heard of this movie and/ or were not bothered by its year-length delay. But as a Guy Ritchie fan, I have heard of this movie and was bothered by the delay. This movie should never have been delayed. It should have been completely annihilated.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre is a spy comedy directed by Guy Ritchie, starring his longtime collaborator Jason Statham. I’ll try my best to summarize its nonsensical plot.
Something is stolen from MI6 and MI6 has no idea what was stolen, who stole it, or who intends to buy this stolen item. Orson Fortune (Statham), a talented spy with many phobias and neuroses, is tasked with solving this case. His team is rounded out by Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), a hacker, and JJ (Bugzy Malone), a sniper. They discover that weapons’ dealer Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant) is brokering the sale and they can only infiltrate his company by enlisting the help of Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), a movie star whom Simmonds is obsessed with.
On paper, this movie should not fail. Sure, the plot is complicated, but Guy Ritchie can handle complicated. Snatch and The Gentlemen are complicated. Statham has led many action films and Plaza and Grant are both talented comedic actors. This movie even has Cary Elwes just standing around and being witty. It should be a fun time. Yet it’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen in recent memory.
The story is incredibly hard to follow. I could never remember who was an evil buyer or who was an evil seller or what role Hugh Grant played in the nefarious scheme. The film is also filled with every spy cliché in the book. Not once but twice, the protagonists accidentally incapacitated someone headed to an important meetup with people whom they had never met before, allowing our protagonists to impersonate this person.
To be fair, Mission Impossible movies have complicated stories. But MI also has Tom Cruise jumping out of planes, so they can have whatever plot they want. Operation Fortune’s action scenes are poorly choreographed, poorly edited, and wholly unremarkable. It’s like watching someone play a boring video game on easy mode. Its action was lackluster at best.
So the crappy action doesn’t justify the crappy story, but how’s the dialogue? Sadly, also terrible. Most of the time the characters struggle to properly progress the plot, often making bad jokes that fit with the plot.
The biggest surprise of the movie is that Aubrey Plaza is not funny. Her performance is genuinely terrible. Her delivery is awkward and stilted. She passes through the film making weird hand gestures. Hugh Grant and Josh Hartnett have no chemistry, which is detrimental considering that the entire comedic premise of the film rests on their relationship.
The film also suffers from messy editing. It was notedly delayed after portraying Ukrainians in a negative light. Storylines were altered as a result. I can’t say with certainty that problems didn’t exist in the original cut but it’s obvious major elements were left on the cutting room floor. There’s a subplot about an opposing mercenary group with a mole in Orson’s team but that mole is never revealed. There are many references to Orson’s phobias but those phobias are never shown in action, only talked about, robbing the movie of vivid detail.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre has been a disappointment on every level. It’s an unexciting action film, an unintelligent spy movie, and an unfunny comedy. The talents of everyone involved are wholly wasted. I almost walked out. Don’t ever watch this movie. If you really are interested, just watch The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent instead. Similar premise, but it has Nicholas Cage playing Nicholas Cage, so that’s fun.