In the best tradition of spy movies since the earliest James Bond films, “Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre” never takes itself too seriously.
In fact, it has everything you would expect from a 20th-century James Bond movie, minus some of the gadgets. Otherwise, it’s all there: the fast car chase, the undercover assignment, the M-like boss in London, a weapon that threatens the world and the finest bottle of wine on a private jet.
When you’re a spy, you save the world with some class, and yes, “Operation Fortune” has diamonds and beautiful clothes in fantastic settings. The film was filmed in exotic Antalya, Turkey. You can’t save the world in any old place, you know.
While it’s not a 007 movie per se, “Operation Fortune” is a must-see film for fans of the Bond movies before they became too ponderous in the Daniel Craig era. That said, “Operation Fortune” is an action comedy, unlike the Bond movies, which were dramas with comedic touches.
“Operation Fortune” clearly benefits from the direction of Guy Ritchie, who also wrote the film with Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies. Mr. Ritchie has a knack for this kind of quirky movie, but to his credit, he doesn’t overplay the quirkiness in this Lionsgate/Miramax presentation.
Jason Statham stars in the R-rated film as Orson Fortune, a subcontractor in the intelligence field. An unnamed part of the British government (in the Bond movies or real life, it would be MI6) has hired Orson, but is forcing a new agent on him, Sarah Fidel (Audrey Plaza) and marksman JJ (Bugzy Malone). Calling the shots from a safe distance (which makes it easy for Orson to ignore him) is Nathan Jasmine (the talented Cary Elwes of “Princess Bride” fame)
Mr. Staham takes a somewhat low-key approach to the character, and it works well. Ms. Plaza, known for shows such as the sitcom “Parks and Rec,” has a lot of fun with her character, who’s brilliant at both computer hacking and undercover assignments. Ms. Plaza handles both the dramatic and comedic scenes effortlessly.
Their mission is to stop the sale of new weapons technology controlled by billionaire broker Greg Simmons, played with perfect finesse by Hugh Grant.
To complete their mission, Orson and his team need the help of a movie star, Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), who, up to now, has only played an action hero. Now Danny has to become a real-life one, and that’s fun to watch.