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Movie Review: 'Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre' is a Whole Lot of Fun

Aubrey Plaza and Jason Statham are the friend pairing you did not know you needed in Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

By Sean PatrickPublished 14 days ago 5 min read

Operation Fortune Ruse de Guerre (2023)

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Written by Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies, Guy Ritchie

Starring Jason Statham, Cary Elwes, Aubrey Plaza, Hugh Grant

Release Date March 3rd, 2023

Published March 8th, 2023

Operation Fortune Ruse de Guerre is not unlike every other super-team of spies movie you've seen before. The mission is the same as any Mission Impossible and the silly traps and pitfalls are very similar to a Fast and Furious flick. So, that being said, why am I still recommending it? Because it's so much fun, of course. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre takes the familiar tropes of Spy movies and gives them a kick in the pants courtesy of an unbelievably fantastic cast, clever incident, and fast paced direction from a master of the genre action flick.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre begins by creating a MacGuffin, the Hitchcock term for that thing that everyone in the movie wants. It doesn't matter what it is, it only matters that EVERYONE wants it and everyone has a reason to want it. In this case, the people who want it are an independent paramilitary outfit, the world's most charismatic arms dealer, and a British Government who knows what is at stake if either of the baddies vying for the prize manage to get their hands on the MacGuffin.

The British Government has a specific plan in place for when things like this happen: They call Oscar Fortune (Jason Statham). Oscar Fortune is the world's greatest spy, and its most expensive and demanding. Via his handler, Jasmine (Cary Elwes), Fortune has a team and a series of demands that must be met before he will go into action mode. Fortune requires a large private plane, he's claustrophobic, he needs wine from very specifically expensive years and brands, and he needs his team. Once this price is met, he will take on a mission.

This time around, not all of Oscar's demands are being met. It seems that his usual tech sidekick has sold out to the highest bidder and thus is not available for this job. Oscar is forced to settle for American newcomer, Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza). She's a good fit, despite constantly taking the piss out of Oscar's cool guy spy persona. On the bright side for Oscar, he does have his usual muscle, J.J (Bugsy Malone). J.J is a smooth, soulful, rather brilliant man who happens to be a hulking mass of a man who is incredible with weapons of any kind.

The first mission involves more than just fists, guns and a laptop. In fact, what it actually needs is star power. Oscar and his team need to infiltrate a party at the Cannes Film Festival, a party being thrown by the world's biggest arms dealer, Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Usually inaccessible in his European fortress, Simmonds happens to have a soft spot for movie stars, specifically an action hero named Danny Francisco (Josh Hartnett). In order to get close to Greg, the team kidnaps the movie star and makes him the star of their Ruse de Guerre, the con job they will use to find the MacGuffin.

Josh Hartnett is a scene stealer in Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Hartnett appears to be having the time of his life sending up being a major movie star. Having not reached the heights of movie stardom predicted for him, Hartnett appears to relish the chance to play what it might be like to be so ridiculously famous that the most powerful and dangerous people in the world just want to hang out with you. The chemistry between Hartnett and the equally delighted Hugh Grant is lowkey the best part of Operation Fortune Ruse de Guerre.

Of course, the actual best part of the movie is Aubrey Plaza. Taking a rare mainstream action movie role, Plaza infuses the role with her very unique, spiky, edginess. Plaza is an unpredictable performer, always seeming to push scenes to unexpected places. She's clearly having fun playing off of Statham's far more controlled and stoic persona. She's also having a great time opposite Hartnett and Grant, each of whom are fighting for her affection, though clearly neither of them have a remote chance of romantically interesting her.

Guy Ritchie's directorial panache, that professionalism crossed with a strong sense of style, really comes through in Operation Fortune Ruse de Guerre. Ritchie does not let up as a director. As he showed with all the style and flare he brought to the otherwise highly conventional Sherlock Holmes movies, Ritchie directs mainstream programmers with the same kind of intensity he brings to his more personal, pet projects like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Rock N Rolla. Ritchie's kinetic camerawork makes even expository scenes feel dynamic.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre does not reinvent the wheel an action movie or a team-up movie. What it does is simply elevate the form with a terrific cast and a heavy dose of style. You can make a predictable or overly familiar movie and it can still be quite good if you get the right cast who brings the right kind of energy to the film. Combine that with a pro director who knows how to keep things interesting visually, and you have a strong recipe for popcorn entertainment.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one time tip. Thanks!


About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. I am a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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