Fans of director Guy Ritchie will be drawn to his familiar kinetic style of action and snarky, dark humor in his latest film, “Operation Fortune.” Plot-wise it’s very similar to “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” but the fun stunts and eccentric cast make this one a little different. The film starts off rough and the storytelling sometimes drags, but viewers who stick with it will be rewarded with a solid, satisfying payoff.
When the sale of a deadly weaponized technology threatens to disrupt the world order, special agent Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) is reluctantly paired with a team of super spy operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone). Tracing the path of the illegal sale, Fortune and his crew travel the globe in search of the money man behind it all. This leads them to a mansion in Turkey, which belongs to billionaire arms broker Simmonds (Hugh Grant). The team needs a way to get close to Simmonds, and research discloses that he’s a huge fan of movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett). Realizing Danny is their golden ticket, Fortune must recruit the Hollywood actor to help with their undercover mission.
One reason why the film works so well is Ritchie’s knack for playing to the strengths of his actors. Statham’s tough guy persona may feel slightly out of place in his role as a brilliant spy, but he’s as enjoyable as ever to watch as he goes mano a mano with his enemies. Hugh Grant is appropriately smarmy-yet-cheeky as a jackass billionaire, and Hartnett proves he is still one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors as he thoroughly sells his turn as a real-life movie star. The supporting cast give memorable supporting performances as well, but the big surprise here is Plaza, who actually plays a little bit against type for once. The characters are likeable, so much so that the ending had me craving a sequel so I could see them again.
Parts of the movie are unimaginative but somehow still fun, which is most likely a testament to the director (who has always had his finger firmly on the pulse of what action fans want) and the cast of actors who often seem to be trying to amuse each other as well as the audience. This makes for an all-around good time, especially if you go in with lowered expectations.
By: Louisa Moore