FIRST LOOK – Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre

I just saw this came through on Flipboard and I’m immediately excited for it! I love a good action comedy and Guy Ritchie‘s always got a great ensemble cast for his movies. I’ve enjoyed Jason Statham since seeing him in the original Transporter and he’s a lot of fun to watch in action flicks… so long as they’re more on the comedic side (I didn’t care for him in oh-so-serious Wrath Of Man that’s also directed by Ritchie). Apparently this is Statham/Ritchie’s fifth collaboration since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), boy, the Stath still looks exactly the same after 20 years!!

operation-fortune

Here’s the premise per Wiki:

Super spy Orson Fortune (Stath, natch!) and his team of top operatives recruit Hollywood’s biggest movie star, Danny Francesco, to help them on an undercover mission to stop billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds from selling a deadly new weapons technology that threatens to disrupt the world order

Ritchie is collaborating with The Gentlemen‘s screenwriters Ivan Atkinson & Marn Davies which was witty and entertaining. Thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we’ve got some new images ahead of the trailer that’ll drop on Thursday.

Interesting that Josh Hartnett has been working with Ritchie lately, he’s also in Wrath Of Man even though it was more of a throwaway character, ahah. I wonder if he’s got a bigger part in this one as the movie star Danny. Fun seeing Aubrey Plaza here, never seen her in an action movie before and I think her sense of humor would bode well with Ritchie’s style. 

operation-fortune2

I’m glad to see Hugh Grant working with Ritchie again and he seems to relish in playing baddies in his later part of his career. I remember him saying he loves playing villains as it suits his real-life personality more, I LOVE his dry, self-deprecating sense of humor! The movie also stars Cary Elwes and British rapper Bugzy Malone.

I had to look up the French term ‘ruse de guerre’ in Wikipedia… which is literally translated as ruse of war… ‘an act of military deception against one’s opponent or acts against one’s opponent by creative, clever, unorthodox means, sometimes involving force multipliers or superior knowledge.’ 

Here’s the trailer!

Oooh this looks like a lot of fun! LOVE the inherently comedic tone, and Grant once again looks poised to be the scene-stealer with his Cockney accent. I’m definitely on board w/ this and with this cast.

The movie is released on January 21… Ritchie’s movies are a hit and miss but let’s hope this will be a good one despite being released in what’s generally considered the ‘dump months.’ 


What do you think of this upcoming movie?

FlixChatter Review: The Gentlemen (2020)

I’d say Guy Ritchie is an acquired taste… you could even say he’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it filmmaker, which means you either love or hate his fast-paced, at-times frenetic style, and I’m mostly talking about his gritty British gangster films, so the family-friendly Aladdin is obviously an exception. For the most part, I like his movies. From his debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, to the underrated Rocknrolla, and the 2015 The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which I like more on rewatch, his movies are often irreverent, cheeky and fun.

After Aladdin, Ritchie returns to his roots with The Gentlemen. He’s back to portraying working class gangsters, peppered with his rather unsubtle disdain for the British upper class. This time he’s got an American as the protagonist, a self-made London-based cannabis [drug]lord Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey). Mickey is trying to sell his profitable marijuana empire off so he could retire with his wife Rosalind. He’s already found a buyer and they’ve agreed on a price. But then of course, things go awry as bribery, blackmail, and all kinds of treachery schemes complicate matters for Mickey and his loyal right-hand-man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam).

The amusing part of the whole narrative is the fact that the story is told by private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant, doing his best Cockney accent) to Raymond. I won’t go into details apart from the fact that he’s got crucial intel involving Mickey’s business dealings that include some lesser members of the British royal family, and he’s willing to keep it a secret for a handsome fee.

The interaction between Grant and Hunnam are my favorite parts of the movie. There’s a rather silly movie-within-a-movie bit that’s gleefully amusing thanks to Grant’s performance and Hunnam’s constantly-befuddled expression. I love how Grant’s embraced his comedic side playing a flamboyant scumbag (what the Brits would call a tosser), and he seems to be having loads of fun tormenting Hunnam’s straight-laced Raymond. In Guy Ritchie’s world, even gangsters stand by a certain ‘moral’ code.

The film goes back and forth between Fletcher’s version of the story and the reality, which isn’t always easy to follow. Some of the things happening made little sense, but it was a lot of fun that you’re along for the ride. McConaughey‘s movie star charisma works well for the role, in fact, it’s nice to see him use his Southern charm and menacing energy in equal measure. Henry Golding‘s Dry Eye is perhaps the weakest link of the movie. Not the actor’s fault necessarily, as I think Golding is more versatile than meets the eye, but his role is more of a caricature, not exactly a memorable villain. Not that I think about it though, I think Ritchie’s movies aren’t known for having memorable villains, perhaps because his protagonists are often anti-heroes.

Now, despite his limited screen time, the movie’s surprising MVP is actually Colin Farrell, an inner city boxing trainer known as Coach who becomes Raymond’s unexpected ally. Involuntarily, Coach got dragged into Mickey’s crime world thanks to his students, one of them is played by Manchester rapper Bugzy Malone.  There’s a fantastic rap video at one of Mickey’s cannabis lab, as well as in the end credits that’s well worth staying for. As the sole female character in a sea of testosterone, Michelle Dockery is wonderfully shrewd, sexy and confident as Mickey’s beloved wife whom he adores and looks up to.

It’s still a movie about the boys however, and in that regards it’s not a ‘woke’ film nor does Ritchie care much about being politically correct. Some of the racist, homophobic jokes would ruffle some feathers, there’s a hugely gross scene being played over and over, not to mention a certain vulgar scenario that is disturbing even without being shown. While some may call this movie a ‘return to form’ to what he does best, there’s much recycled material that feels derivative and predictable.

For a gangster crime comedy, there’s actually not a whole lot of action set pieces and it’s perhaps Ritchie’s more ‘restrained’ version in terms of frenetic action, violence and overly-stylized camera work, but of course it’s still chockfull of crude language and F bombs. I like that the movie is more of a battle of wits than wham-bam-action, as the gangsters try to outmaneuver each other to stay on top of their game. Stylistically, there’s also much to appreciate, from the dynamic music (score by Christopher Benstead) to the dapper business suits AND tracksuits (costume designer Michael Wilkinson previously worked with Ritchie in Aladdin), even the ones worn in the rap video.  I don’t know that he’ll win new fans to his cinematic flair, but for those who enjoy his style, I’d say it’s was pretty darn entertaining. I wouldn’t even mind watching it again when it’s out on streaming.


Have you seen The Gentlemen? What did you think?