A Year Late Hitting the Big Screens…
A year later than I intended watching this Guy Ritchie movie but here goes… The film stars Ritchie’s favourite action man Jason Statham as Orson Fortune, a kind of super-spy/secret agent working for the British secret service.
The film title is made up using the main character’s surname and “Ruse de Guerre” which is french for ‘ruse of war’. Think of it as a classic tale of deception like using the Trojan horse as a gift to gain the upper hand and ultimate victory.
Josh Hartnett plays Hollywood actor Danny Francesco who is ludicrously thrown into the action because the arms dealer’s favourite actor. Harnett’s character is the stereotypical molly-coddled actor and is clearly meant to add to the comedy element. However it just doesn’t work very well.
While we are on the subject: What the hell happened to Harnett’s career? He first came to most people’s attention (mine anyway) as the edgy, rebellious college student in The Faculty in 1998 and I for one thought his career would really take off. It almost did in 2001 when he starred in the fairly good Black Hawk Down then the epic (but not so good) Pearl Harbour. He then did little of note until 2006 when he starred in The Black Dahlia – a decent movie – and the very good Lucky Number Slevin. He then made nothing of note until recently when Ritchie gave him a role in Wrath of Man in 2021. It’s hard to see where he goes from this one… Anyway. Back to the movie…
Well, well, well…
This film was supposed to have been released a year ago. I remember seeing the trailer in the cinema while watching another movie that I reviewed here and thinking ‘I may go and see that’… Then the makers/distributors (whoever) decided not to release it because the baddies in the film are Ukrainians. – Pause while you stop laughing…..
Right. Now you have stopped laughing I can confirm that it is true. Ukrainian baddies do exist. What a shocker eh?
As pathetic as that may sound it is true that they pulled the movie for a year because of the situation in Ukraine. I needed to see that the film makers hadn’t subtly (or not so subtly) somehow changed the nationality of the baddies to… well; Russians of course… They haven’t – which is good – but the film still lacks that certain something.
Spoiler alert (of sorts): It turns out that the real baddies are in fact Bio-Tech billionaires. Well, well, well. How bizarre! Who would have ever thought eh?
A Ukrainian mafia gang manage to steal a device known as “The Handle”. The item is deemed to be important and has been priced in billions of dollars. The British government hires Nathan Jasmine (played by Cary Elwes) to retrieve “The Handle” before billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds (played by Hugh Grant) can sell it to the highest bidder. Nathan hires super-spy Orson Fortune to lead a team made up of… well, a highly forgettable cast really. Sorry but that’s the truth.
Simmonds throws a lavish party on his luxury yacht. Fortune manages to get onto the party yacht pretending to be manager of film star Danny Francesco. It just so happens that Simmonds’ favourite actor is Danny Francesco. Fortune’s team basically blackmail the actor into playing himself so that he can get close to Simmonds. Fortune’s team play their part in the ruse so as to be in a position to snatch “The Handle” when Simmonds does the deal with the Ukrainians.
The problem is that there is a rival team of secret service type operatives competing for the prize of retrieving “The Handle”. This team is led by a bloke called Mike and he and Orson do not get on. The whole thing turns into a farcical game of cat and mouse with plenty of weapons and shooting.
Basically that’s it. Oh, and at some point of course Simmonds realises that Danny Francesco has been playing him for a fool. In fact it’s all the usual farcical stuff you would expect from a Guy Ritchie movie plot.
I actually struggle to give this film 2 stars (out of the usual 5). One star may be a little cruel but it was a close call, so 2** it is. I feel like I watched this film so that you don’t have to. Unless you really want to of course…
It was as unbelievable as a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie but with much more intentional humour. But sadly also a lower level of production quality. I definitely think Guy Ritchie should stick to the more street-based films and stories where the humour works a lot better and more effort is put on the storylines/twists and characters than on exotic locations. Compare this film to Ritchie’s previous offering (The Gentleman – see review for that one here) and I am sure you will agree…
Finally – for me at least – I think Hugh Grant has fallen back into the category of annoying. He was fine in The Gentlemen but totally unconvincing as a tough yet slightly comedic, gangster-like arms dealer. It really didn’t work. It seems that Grant’s role in The Gentlemen went to his head – and maybe Ritchie’s too. Let’s just say that Ritchie’s next movie could do without Hugh Grant, and leave it at that.
While we’re at it let’s hope there are no plans for an Operation Fortune 2 (and 3, 4 etc…) The characters and background are now established for a sequel (or three – ugh) and it certainly looked like that may be the intention at the end of the movie. If they do make more then they will seriously need to get some better writers involved. And let’s hope they stick to having only British and Russian baddies in future eh? Can’t be too careful…
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