Operation Fortune: Ruse de Garre15
You can appreciate that Jason Statham has a lot of time for fellow Brit Guy Ritchie, who after all, gave the action star his first break in Ritchie’s directorial debut Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels in 1998.
Since then they’ve gone on to work together a number of times, with this film marking their fourth. It sees the pair in upbeat mood, with what comes across somewhat as a Mission Impossible- lite.
The British government has been given some Intel that something really rather bad is about to happen. They have been led to believe that a meeting is being set up for the exchange of an item that’s set to sell for the eye-watering price of $10 billion dollars. The thing is, they don’t exactly know what the item - which they dub ‘the handle’ - actually is.
Nathan (Cary Elwes) has been charged with putting together a team to investigate the situation, a team led by the ever reliable Orson Fortune (Statham).
He has a team, with JJ (Bugzy Malone), who he’s worked with before, and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), who he hasn’t, which he isn’t that comfortable with, but as someone from his old team - Mike (Peter Ferdinando), has defected to the other side, there really is no other choice.
For the plan to work, they have to get the help of billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmons (Hugh Grant), which won’t be easy, so come up with the wildest of plans, to meet up with him with his favourite Hollywood star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) in tow.
It’s all a little convoluted but there’s a small chance it may work – just.
Having just previously worked together on 2021’s Wrath of Man, a slightly grittier heist flick, Ritchie and Statham’s collaboration here is a far frothier affair. It’s more playful, with a fair amount of humour thrown in, making it entertainingly light-hearted.
That’s not so say that Statham doesn’t get to throw his mighty fists around, he does, but there is a sense the film could have benefitted from more of them hitting baddies.
A nice team dynamic develops between himself and both Plaza and Malone, to the point that you kind of get the impression that the door is open to more spy jaunts in the future, if this one goes to plan. Plaza especially is definitely having some fun, keen to bring that cheeky mischievous side of hers out to play.
But one of its biggest highlights is Hugh Grant’s role, who appears to be having somewhat of a Hughnaissance of late, if you will, what with Glass Onion, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves as well his other great turn for Ritchie in his 2019 The Gentlemen; here, somewhat unusually, he dispenses with his standard acting, and dabbles with a bit of vocal acting to great humorous effect.
It’s all light, let your hair down with a beer on a Saturday night kind of stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with that; although the item they are all after is called ‘the handle’ it could easily have gone by its other name, which is a macguffin, which is just an object that drives the entire plot. It’s all very vague, but it’s supposed to be.
It’s not exactly classic Ritchie, or Statham for that matter, but it’s a hugely fun, mindless piece of entertainment, making it the perfect popcorn film to indulge in and enjoy. Call it a guilty pleasure if you will, but there’s no denying it does the job it sets out to do. So that’s a successful operation in our books.