Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Harnett, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Coarse Language and Some Violence)
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 19 January 2023
Synopsis: In OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE, Super Spy Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) must track down and stop the sale of a deadly new weapons technology wielded by billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Reluctantly teamed with some of the world’s best operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone), Fortune and his crew recruit Hollywood’s biggest movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to help them on their globe-trotting undercover mission to save the world.
And why shouldn’t every guy yearn to be as manly as Jason Statham? The action star is tough, suave and gritty. He is also witty when he spouts deadpan one liner punchlines in his English accent. For someone who is 55 years old, he is in very good shape. As a guy, you’d want him to be your buddy. As a lady, you’d want him to be your partner so you’ll always feel safe. In his latest movie, Statham effortlessly shows us what he’s got, and delivers two hours of solid entertainment.
If you’ve seen the actor in action thriller movies like the Transporter and The Expendables series, as well as box office success hits from the Fast & Furious franchise, his character in this movie directed by Guy Ritchie is pretty much the same. He plays Orson Fortune, a super spy who is responsible for saving the world from baddies. Under the direction of a government official (Cary Elwes), he teams up with two competent spies played by Aubrey Plaza and Bugzy Malone, and they are on a mission to, well, save the world.
In the mix are two other notable characters portrayed by familiar faces. There is Greg Simmonds, a billionaire (Hugh Grant, whom for sure isn’t playing the charming leading man from Notting Hill) who is involved in some shady firearms deal, and Danny Francesco, a famous movie star (Josh Hartnett, putting his good natured goofiness to good use here) who gets embroiled in the misadventure simply because Greg is his biggest fan.
If you enjoy movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000) and The Gentlemen (2019), then you’ll be in for a treat with Ritchie’s latest ensemble piece that brings you 117 minutes of exciting cat and mouse chases, lavish sequences featuring exotic locations and adrenaline filled action scenes, courtesy of Statham and his trustworthy hard punches. The English filmmaker knows how to direct a crime comedy filled with entertaining action elements. Here, the pacing is on point and there isn’t a dull moment.
It’s unlikely that you will watch this crime caper to appreciate a well written story, or to be inspired by Statham’s, or for that matter, any of the cast members’ acting. Just look at Grant and Hartnett’s silly roles here. The movie is meant to be a fun trip to the cinema to be reminded of the old school spy flicks that purely delivered entertainment to its audiences. In fact, we’d be thrilled if Orson Fortune gets his own spy movie franchise.
We aren’t sure whether the movie would be a hit though, especially when it was pulled from its original release date in early 2022. It is likely because the story features Ukrainian gangsters, which might be insensitive to the ongoing Russo Ukrainian war. The movie is likely to be released via a streaming service domestically, while the rest of the world gets to see it on the big screen.
Let’s hope Ritchie has plans to make more of such fun crime action flicks, and cast Statham as his leading man. The world needs more of such tough dudes who throw mean punches and won't back down in the face of challenges.
(Guy Ritchie delivers another solid and entertaining crime caper featuring the ever-reliable tough guy Jason Statham)
Review by John Li