The Chase Is On

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Stars: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant and Eddie Marsan
Director: Guy Ritchie
Scriptwriters: Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies and Guy Ritchie
Composer: Christopher Benstead
Cinematography: Alan Stewart
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 115 Minutes

Director Guy Ritchie is known for films with a twist (“The Gentleman” with Hugh Grant) and here comes his latest film, a crime thriller. Well, that is stretching it a bit, as it is more a comedy-thriller that just misses the mark. A robbery of gigantic proportions, and the chase to retrieve it is the theme. Jason Statham has the lead, along with Josh Hartnett, Hugh Grant  and Cary Elwes, they carry the film. Anyone else is collateral.  Exotic locations for the viewers eye, and action, but still, something is missing.

As the storyline goes, there is a European mob that is after a valuable (think billions here) “thing,” and they get it. England wants it back, so goes to Nathan Jasmine (Cary Elwes) to get it for them. He contacts Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) to put together a team (Aubrey Plaza and Bugzy Malone) to get the “thing” back. They have to retrieve it from Greg Simmons (Hugh Grant) an arms dealer before he can sell it. Time is precious and trying to get into the Simmons mansion can’t be done.  Or can it? Enter fading movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett who steals his scenes) to go to a party Simmons is holding. Simmons is fascinated with movies and in awe of Danny. And so it goes, as there are narrow escapes, chases and trying to get away from the European mob. Can this ruse work?

As far as acting is concerned, there are just four main characters, Statham, Hartnett, Elwes and Grant.  Each puts their special touch on their roles. Jason Statham is the action guy with a quip. Hugh Grant is the arms dealer with a passion for movies. Elwes is trying to keep this caper together, but it is Josh Hartnett as the movie star who gets your attention. As a movie star, he plays with ego, but as the film progresses, he has subtle changes. The rest of the cast, Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone and Eddie Marsan are present and then not present.

I was disappointed in the blandness of the film despite its locations including Turkey and Qatar. There is no real sparkle here, just one scene and then another and then another. For Jason Statham fans, however, here is another chance to see him in action.

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner