Quick Synopsis: Guy Ritchie spy shit, involving an arms dealer who is a fan of an actor.
I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (or OFRdG: pronounced Offradag) was originally supposed to be released in January 2022 before being treated like a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia, being randomly dragged away and hidden with no idea when they will ever be released, if at all.
That reference to Russia wasn’t just a subtle way to insult the country, there’s no way I’d randomly say that the Russian government is full of homophobic hate with supporters who are in as much denial as Vanilla Ice when he’s asked about stealing the music from Under Pressure. I mention it because Russia impacted the release of OFRdG. The villains in OFRdG are Ukrainian, and it was felt to be in bad taste to release a film with Ukrainian villains at a time when the country is under attack not just militarily, but also culturally from online sources claiming the country deserves to be invaded because they’re all Nazi’s. There’s an argument to be made that this is censorship and people aren’t stupid enough to use a film as a basis for reality. But there is another argument that some things just aren’t wise to make at certain times, and would be akin to Hollywood releasing a film called “Goldenstein The Filthy Jew Vampire” in 1943 (as opposed to just having Disney giving all their villains hook noses, an obsession with money, and many other tropes that just coincidentally happen to be anti-semitic tropes). That was a year ago, the film has been deemed safe to release now that there are fewer Ukrainian citizens still alive who can be offended.
I appreciate that was a weird way to start the review, by not really talking about OFRdG at all. That’s because there’s really not much to this. This does not feel like the Guy Ritchie who gave the world Snatch or Lock Stock. This feels like the Guy Ritchie that gave us Swept Away and Aladdin. It doesn’t feel like there’s any love in it. There’s nothing memorable about it. It lacks not only his visual flair but also the crowd-pleasing narrative twists and turns. There’s a real identity crisis about the whole thing. There are so many moments which if they were fleshed out could form the basis of a great film, even the “Hollywood actor” thing seems weirdly underplayed and not developed enough despite being the main plot point.
It’s a waste of a massively talented ensemble cast. Almost everybody is doing a good job but they’re not really given enough to do. I have no desire to watch this again, everything it does competently has been done much better elsewhere. You’d think “A comedy spy movie about a Hollywood actor being enlisted to investigate a criminal” would be a “once every 4 years” or so, but if this wasn’t delayed then it would have been the second film of 2022 with that plot and would have been the worst option out of the two.
I really wanted to enjoy this, I wanted it to be one of my favourite films of the year. As it is, I would fail a multiple-choice exam about the events of this film. I can only remember one of the characters’ names, and that’s only because it was mentioned in the trailers a lot. I certainly can’t remember the dialogue. The only thing about the dialogue that I can remember is that at some point I realised how much Jason Statham’s dialogue sounds like Garth Marenghi. Add a “fuck” and it works the other way around too.
Looking up those quotes and finding the best one provided more laughs for me than this entire movie. That says two things: 1) this isn’t a great movie. 2) I have too much time on my hands. But I have even less now I had to watch this. If it wasn’t for Hugh Grant then the entire film would be a massive waste of time.