Twenty- five years ago the movie Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was released in theaters and began a collaboration between director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) and actor Jason Statham (Crank). The week their fifth film together, Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre, finally makes its way to theaters after over a year's worth of delays. Similar to their other movies, this one is an action, comedy, thriller that requires Statham to shoot guns, beat people up, and portray someone he isn't to stop a devious plot. Having created four quality movies previously, the question to ask is, "will the fifth time working together be their best movie yet?". Unfortunately, the answer is no it isn't.
Nathan Jasmine (Cary Elwes; The Princess Bride) walks down a long, empty hallway to Knighton's (Eddie Marsan; Happy-Go-Lucky) office. Once there Knighton informs him that something called "The Handle" has been stolen and Jasmine needs to put together a team to retrieve whatever it was that was taken. Jasmine then begins to assemble his team which will be led by Orson Fortune (Statham), a spy who is very good at what he does and who makes unreasonable demands of the British government.
Joining Fortune is technology expert (a.k.a hacker) Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza; Child's Play), actor Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett; Lucky Number Slevin), and sniper/lookout J.J. Davies (Bugzy Malone; The Gentlemen). Complicating their mission is their rival, Mike (Peter Ferdinando; Ghost in the Shell), who is also after the Handle and consistently seems to be getting in Fortune's way. As clues continue to mount, the team infiltrates a charity event hosted by a billionaire arms dealer, Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant; Love Actually) utilizing Danny Francesco, the famous actor with whom Simmonds is obsessed. Once the players and the plan are revealed, the team goes to work,
The cast makes this movie better than it otherwise would be. Statham has a certain set of skills (wrong movie/actor) and he utilizes them to play Fortune. Plaza has been on fire for the last several years and she is excellent as the tech wizard. Malone is known as a Rap artist but he has had a few film roles and he holds his own with this group of thespians. Grant plays a likable slime ball that compliments your outfit as he is stabbing you in the back. Hartnett fits well with the rest of the cast but my personal bias about his acting makes him the weakest link for me.
Ritchie is known for making action movies that are impressive and he uses his usual formula with Operation Fortune. Camera angles and the movie's pacing are distinctly Ritchie and for the most part, they work. However, he substitutes the slow-motion trick he often employs for a new option...point of view shots. As Fortune is breaking into the building where the exchange is taking place, Ritchie switches between views of Statham sneaking around to views of what Statham sees at the end of his gun, as if the viewer is part of a video game. In my opinion, Ritchie should stick with slow motion.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (literally translated to "ruse of war") is standard fare as far as action movies go. Plaza and Grant are standouts amongst the cast and Statham is very good in this tried and true role. However, there is little else that stands out as unique/ different. The fight choreography is ok but certainly not groundbreaking. The plot and dialogue are fairly stagnant and the ending is predictable.
If you are looking for a decent action film, this one will work but it is by far not Ritchie's or Statham's best.