Guy Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” is a unusually limp affair, contemplating the loaded forged (Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes), the glamorous worldwide places (Madrid! Morocco! Cannes!), and the final enjoyable of a high-speed chase to trace down a MacGuffin of probably world-ending proportions. However one thing’s lacking—stakes, for one. Nothing is on the road. Ritchie’s story type often includes messing about with construction and linearity, twisting up the format with feints, and flashbacks, all powered by fast-paced, witty snarky dialogue. None of that’s actually in proof in “Operation Fortune.” The characters by no means take form, not at the same time as caricatures. There are components of parody, however “Operation Fortune” isn’t broad sufficient to be a spoof. It is weirdly empty.
Jason Statham performs Orson Fortune, an in-demand operative known as in by the British authorities occasionally to execute tough duties of nationwide significance. The British authorities right here is represented by Nathan (Cary Elwes), whose job is protecting the unreliable Orson on observe. Orson, we’re advised earlier than we meet him, has a bunch of phobias, making him a dangerous rent. However then Orson seems, and he looks like a median laconic-speaking motion hero. He boards a number of planes all through, enduring lengthy worldwide flights with no signal of phobia. So many missed potentialities for humor! Why arrange the phobia after which not show it in any respect?
Ought to Orson select to just accept it, the duty is to trace down a stolen briefcase that comprises a mysterious object about to be bought on the black market, the shady underworld of arms sellers, drug runners, state secrets and techniques, and different nefarious transactions. No one is aware of what’s within the briefcase, however no matter it’s is so harmful it should not get into the fallacious arms. (The thriller of what is within the briefcase isn’t revealed till midway by the movie. That is meant to be suspenseful however has the other impact.) Orson places collectively his small staff: J.J. Davies (Bugzy Malone), who spends lots of time looking at GPS screens and reporting places, and Sara Fidel (Aubrey Plaza), a pc knowledgeable who can hack into something. Their first operation is infiltrating a particularly elite occasion hosted by billionaire George Simonds (Hugh Grant) on his yacht. Simonds hangs out with a really sketchy group, together with two creeps in “biotech” and a roving band of drunken thieves, all of whom additionally need the briefcase.
Since getting invited to this occasion is impossible, the staff blackmails an unwitting film star named Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), hoping he can be celeb catnip for the cagey Simonds. It really works. With Danny out in entrance, Orson posing as Danny’s supervisor, and Sara posing as Danny’s girlfriend, the trio positive aspects entry to the occasion. George lights up on the sight of Danny Francesco, the film star! Hugh Grant, who was so hilarious in Ritchie’s “The Gents,” is moderately inert right here. Nevertheless, the efficiency does have its excessive factors (his insinuating deadened voice oozing corruption, his flat grey hair, his tinted glasses calling to thoughts Jim Jones or Robert Evans. He comes throughout as a cooing dead-eyed gargoyle.) Hijinx, lies, and near-misses ensue. The caper is sophisticated by warring teams of unbiased contractors, all after the briefcase, who have to be shut down by any means necessary.
What’s lacking general is eccentricity. Ritchie’s movies are often full of eccentric nuts, replete with quirks and bizarre vocal patterns and gestures. The characters in “Operation Fortune” are generic by comparability. The spy staff’s interactions lack the sizzle of battle, even humor. J.J. is nondescript. Sara is meant to be nerdy and awkward (however solely intermittently), the type of one that tries and fails to crack jokes. When nobody laughs, she explains the joke. This occurs a number of instances however would not coalesce right into a “bit.” Plaza spends many of the movie looking at a pc display, a waste of one of the vital proficient actresses working at this time. Orson is meant to be phobia-ridden, which might have been lots of enjoyable, however he’s mainly indistinct. These are all humorous actors, however no one will get to be humorous.
Excepting Josh Hartnett. Danny begins as your garden-variety egotistical film star however slowly morphs into a distinct type of man by the traumatic expertise of being whisked away from Hollywood onto a yacht within the Mediterranean by a trio of spies. His is the one actual character arc in “Operation Fortune.” Each time he is onscreen, the temper lightens. Danny is consistently in giddy confusion, tongue-tied and terrified, out of his aspect and depth. His journey results in a coda sparking with welcome cynicism. Danny feels just like the central character, however sadly, he’s peripheral, a sidekick to the blah spies looking at pc screens.
Even the occasional sarcastic quip—often so ruthless in Ritchie’s scripts—feels warmed-over, compulsory. Nothing pops. There is no viewpoint. “Operation Fortune” is a caper that does not caper in any respect.