WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Operation Fortune!The 2023 spy movie Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre breaks a critical rule for its genre, but makes up for it with its many action gags. From The Gentlemen director Guy Ritchie, Operation Fortune stars Jason Statham as snarky spy Orson Fortune, who is reluctantly teamed up with tech genius Sarah Fidel (Aubrey Plaza), weapons expert JJ Davies (Bugzy Malone), and Hollywood movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to intercept a $10 billion sale by billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). As the spy team works to foil the dangerous deal, far more hilarity than genuine action ensues.
The Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham collaboration utilizes plenty of spy movie clichés, such as car chase scenes, obvious bugs, a helicopter escape, a fancy party scene, and an unexpected secret double agent when it’s revealed that Mike is working rogue. However, Operation Fortune primarily utilizes its espionage premise for comedic effect, as it prioritizes humor in relation to its action thrills despite not being satire or parody. Consequently, the 2023 film is missing one crucial element of iconic spy movie franchises like James Bond, Mission: Impossible, and Bourne.
Operation Fortune’s Spy Team Is Rarely In Danger
Oddly for an action-filled spy movie, the team in Operation Fortune is rarely ever in danger. Aubrey Plaza’s Operation Fortune character briefly pulls out a gun to shoot an enemy’s car and evade their pursuit, but she’s never directly harmed or put in immediate danger throughout the film. Similarly, even when Jason Statham’s Orson Fortune is at the business end of a firearm or is in a seemingly impossible situation, there’s no real sense of danger for his character as no serious harm comes his way. Rather, Orson always walks away unscathed as he prepares to throw punches at another foe.
Placing the protagonist in an impossible-to-escape dangerous situation is a key rule of augmenting the stakes of spy movies, but there’s never one notable occasion in Operation Fortune in which it appears Orson will lose the battle against Mike, Alexander, or Greg’s team. Even when Operation Fortune does feature a fighting sequence or shootout, they’re extremely brief and simply highlight the impressive talents of Orson’s spy team. The lack of danger to Jason Statham’s action hero is more comparable to a parody or spoof in the vein of Austin Powers, but Operation Fortune doesn’t dig broadly or deeply enough into this genre to warrant its missing threats and consequences.
Operation Fortune’s Clever Humor Makes Up For Its Lack Of Action
Despite the fact that Operation Fortune has low stakes in terms of its danger, the physical gags and the cast’s charm still make the film work as an enjoyable installment in the spy comedy collection. While Kingsman does a much better job of blending action and comedy as a more proper parody of the James Bond movies, Operation Fortune is more reserved in its spoofs while relying on comedy to enhance its action thrills. Aubrey Plaza’s snarky humor, Jason Statham’s quick wit, and Hugh Grant’s sleezy performance unite through Operation Fortune‘s post-credits scene to create a fun comedy with action-filled spy elements rather than the other way around.
One of the most memorable “fight” scenes in Operation Fortune occurs when Ben Harris charges at Orson on a rooftop, but Orson immediately throws him over the edge of the building. The sequence is entirely played as a gag, but works as an example of the humor that Guy Ritchie’s movie utilizes to enhance the incompetence of Operation Fortune’s villains. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre isn’t one of Guy Ritchie’s better spy films, but its silver tongue and unserious take on genre tropes produce a team of spies – including the antagonist Greg Simmonds – that is still fun to watch.