Jason Statham is back doing what he does best—cracking heads while cracking wise as a badass globetrotting super spy—in a new trailer for director Guy Ritchie’s latest comedy action film, Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre.
Ritchie made his name with early breakout hits Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), both showcasing his distinctively bold, quick-cutting style to best advantage. Those were also breakthrough films for Statham, who has since become one of the world’s most bankable action stars. Alas, Ritchie hit a slump starting with 2002’s Swept Away, starring then-wife Madonna, which bombed both critically and at the box office. (It has an aggregate 5 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won five Golden Raspberry awards.)
Fortunately, the director found his box office mojo again with 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and the 2011 sequel, A Game of Shadows, as well as Disney’s live-action Aladdin (2019), which grossed over $1 billion globally despite mixed reviews. And that classic Ritchie magic was back in full force by 2020’s The Gentlemen, which was released right before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a global lockdown. It nonetheless managed to gross a respectable $115 million worldwide against its $22 million budget.
The Gentlemen provided viewers with plenty of brash, darkly humorous fun, and it looks like Ritchie will be channeling some of that same energy for Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre. Per the official premise:
Super spy Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) must track down and stop the sale of a deadly new weapons technology wielded by billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Reluctantly teamed with some of the world’s best operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone), Fortune and his crew recruit Hollywood’s biggest movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to help them on their globe-trotting undercover mission to save the world.
As with The Gentlemen, that is quite the impressive ensemble cast. The trailer opens with a few scenes of Fortune demonstrating his “unique set of skills,” before Elwes’ Nathan Jasmine tells the gang about their next assignment. “Something rather nasty has been stolen,” he tells the team. “We have to stop that getting onto the open market.” Simmonds is the buyer, and Fortune has a plan to infiltrate the arms dealer’s inner circle. “You can’t catch this fish with conventional lures,” he says.
Enter Francesco, Simmonds’ favorite movie star, who reluctantly agrees to participate to keep compromising video of footage of him and his sister-in-law in flagrante out of the public sphere—that’s right, blackmail, hence the film’s subtitle (ruse de guerre). It could just be Francesco’s “greatest role yet,” Fortune insists, although the actor is understandably a nervous wreck en route to a fete aboard Simmonds’ yacht. But the introduction goes swimmingly, as Simmonds offers to let Francesco shadow him to research his next role playing a mysterious self-made billionaire.
The rest of the trailer is an entertaining mix of high-powered action scenes, exotic locales, and team bickering. By now, Statham has perfected his deadpan tough-guy/action-hero persona—cf. Deckard Shaw in the Fast and Furious franchise, not to mention his hilariously self-deprecating work in 2015’s Spy. It’s on full display here. Plaza is channeling a more sophisticated, slyly acerbic version of her Parks and Recreation character, April, while Hartnett is likably goofy as a movie star out of his depth—who might just turn out to be a decent spy after all.
And this looks to be another standout role for Hugh Grant, who stole every scene he was in as the smarmy PI Fletcher in The Gentlemen, even with that film’s stellar ensemble cast. Bonus: the killer red-and-white Mustang prominently featured in one of the car chase scenes. We’re definitely adding this to our list of films to watch out for next year.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre hits theaters sometime in 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/STX Films