Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre
This may seem an odd title to be my first movie review, but it’s the last one I watched so here we go…
I usually quite enjoy a Guy Ritchie movie as a bit of a fun distraction from the world. You’re usually guaranteed some slick dialog, great scenery and cool costumes. Jason Statham and Hugh Grant should have guaranteed a bit of “banter” and Aubrey Plaza the snark. Oh boy was I wrong!
The premise behind the movie is bad guys have stolen a mysterious thing and Orson Furtune (Jason Statham) is part of a team of contractors that governments hire to solve problems such as this. Think cockney James Bond with a posse and a preferance for face punching rather than quips. The movie belabours the point that Orson plays outside the rules, he uses government money to drink fine wine and fly in private jets.
As the movie progresses, we learn there is a rival group of contractors (Mike and his team) and the mysterious thing is going to be sold by the big bad that is the arms dealing Greg (Hugh Grant). There are a bunch of forgettable scenes at Madrid airport where it’s emphasized that Mike is bad because he scared an old man to death to get a hard drive (it’s very important that you understand Mike is bad and not at all foreshadowing) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) is sassy because she wields sarcasm.
Now we get to the main plot line. It turns out that the hard disk was going to Greg and in order to get into Greg’s party, Orson and his team need Greg’s favourite movie star as a honey pot - Enter Danny (Josh Hartnett). More forgettable scenes on a boat where Orson punches someone alot, Sarah waves gadgets around and Danny plays a caricature of a movie star. Oh, we’re introduced to a couple of tech bros here and we know they are probably bad because they are rich and one has a silly haircut (no this can’t be more foreshadowing can it?).
Greg’s love for Danny gets the team an invite to his Turkish lair where there’s a few magical hacking scenes and a henchman chase through the streets leading us to the enevitably dull situation where Orson masquerades as a bad guy to get hold of the hard disk only to be gazumped by Mike in a violent shoot out. Wait! Mike is bad! He’s stolen the hard disk for himself! I would never have guessed.
In a team-up of the ages, Greg will help the team get the hard disk back from the real big bad… TECH BROS! How best to do this? Shoot your way in, kill everyone and walk away with macguffin! Oh, the hard disk is an AI that can control everything in the world and could never be copied… except they did earlier in the movie but please don’t point out plot holes. If you’ve ever used chatGPT, you know how realistic an advanced AI threat is.
Where did the movie go wrong? Well everywhere. The script is bad… really bad. This was said with all seriousness:
<Orson> Probably you’re the new John.
<Sarah> Not meaning a toilet or a prostitute’s client I take it. Please don’t pee on me, I don’t do that anymore.
<Orson> John didn’t have a personality. I liked John.
The acting was bad… Jason Statham basically plays every character he’s every played in every other movie, but I was expecting a bit more from Hugh Grant. It’s like the director asked Hugh to play the Kray twins, but in the style of Jack Sparrow. Aubrey Plaza plays generic sassy American and Josh Hartnett is trying to be Tom Cruise playing Brad Pitt. Every other character is forgettable and the entire movie runs like a one dimensional money grab from people that loved Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.