Though it’s led by a star-studded cast including Aubrey Plaza, Jason Statham, Josh Hartnett, and Hugh Grant, director Guy Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” is still just a slightly-above-average spy movie. Its greatest element is Ms. Plaza herself. On the whole, the film watches as a fun 120-minute adventure but plays out predictably with its abundant ‘all-thrills, no-frills’ action scenes. Fans of “21 Jump Street”, HBO’s “White Lotus,”, and the Clue game knock-off series “Knives Out” will appreciate the punchy timing of the fast-paced satirical dialogue and classic hero archetype Orson Fortune (played by Statham).
Not so much a whodunnit as a ‘Who’s doing it?’ and ‘What is it?!’, “Operation Fortune” has a few organic twists along the way that keep viewers engaged in the midst of an empty-feeling plot. As moviegoer Trevor Macleod put it: “For someone who accidentally falls asleep during most movies, the action kept me watching the whole way through. Each scene had a purpose to the plot as well, which kept you on your toes; the main cast’s mostly-clever dialogue meant you couldn’t look away or you’d risk missing something bigger.”
The rundown: A group of secret agents (Statham, Plaza, and Bugzy Malone) and a recruited Hollywood celebrity (Hartnett) are puzzle-pieced together to stop a deadly new technology from being wielded by billionaires and their greedy counterparts (Grant, Lourdes Faberes). It is not originally revealed what’s in the briefcase, but our leads must find it at any cost to prevent it from entering the wrong hands. While at every turn there appears to be only one villain, we soon learn there are many and, strangely, that the premise of celebrity may hinder them from carrying out their evilest desires. These subtle parts of the film read like a social commentary on our valuation of fame and entertainment: money and others’ judgment really are the measure of these men. However, we quickly forget the deeper meaning of these scenes as gunfire and chaos ensue seconds after heartfelt quotes are added into the script.
Again, the true star of the film is Aubrey Plaza: her character Sarah Fidel, a computer hacker, plays into the stereotypes of the demure woman but consistently proves she’s smarter than the men onscreen. Her quick wit carries most of the otherwise-familiar scenes and sets up a potential sequel in the end. Another notable win for “Operation Fortune” is the cinematography, which captivates viewers with video game-like close-ups and wide shots of beautiful scenery including Cannes, Madrid, and Morocco.
“Operation Fortune” is worth a watch during a rainy afternoon, but one shouldn’t expect a mind-boggling thriller.
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Genre: Action, Comedy, Thriller
Director: Guy Ritchie
Actors: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone, Hugh Grant, Cary Elwes, Josh Hartnett, Lourdes Faberes & Peter Ferdinando
Run Time: 1 hr 54 min
Rating: R for Violence & Language