“You can’t catch this fish with conventional lures.”Orson Fortune
Jason Statham received his start in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, before going on to carve out his own niche in the action genre. Coming full circle, Operation Fortune is Guy Ritchie’s attempt at making a Jason Statham Movie™ with a convoluted title that exposes its franchise-establishing designs. Orson Fortune is a skilled private contractor hired by the British Government for foreign espionage with slick, jet-setting action, at its best when one character is up close aided by teammates’ chatter through an earpiece and conveniently placed sniper coverage. Hugh Grant is clearly enjoying his charismatic villain era, his womanising arms dealer’s movie star obsession bearing coincidental similarity to Javi in last year’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (shot in early 2021, Operation Fortune was originally slated for release in March 2022, but was shelved due to its distributor’s insolvency, also explaining the Ukrainian references that now seem odd in the current climate). Whilst not enough to address my usual criticism of Ritchie’s casting, Aubrey Plaza is more than a token woman, her tech specialist being an integral part of Orson’s team — Plaza delivers her usual brand of quirky awkwardness but cannot elevate some atrocious dialogue. Though the characters may be new, Operation Fortune has a tendency toward tedious familiarity and it seems unlikely that the equally mercenery whims of Hollywood will grant this sporadically entertaining team another outing.