The film is neither thrilling nor funny and the narrative is as old as time.
Story: Orson Fortune (Jason Statham), a private contractor, is hired by the British government to retrieve a stolen briefcase, the contents of which are confidential, but high-risk, necessitating the need for this mission. Orson and his gang, including tech expert Sara (Aubrey Plaza) and sniper JJ (Bugzy Malone) get the ball rolling, only to find out that they are not the only arms-for-hire on the job. A former teammate Mike, is hot on Orson’s heels to take possession of the case. Amid all this, the team also has to track down the billionaire who is brokering the ‘suitcase’ deal, Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant) and the potential buyers.
Review: One cannot help but wonder how director Guy Ritchie and the producers that bankrolled Operation Fortune thought that just assembling a team of talented actors would give them a decently watchable film as the end result, especially when said cast had a silly script to work with. How many times has Hollywood churned out movies about a stolen government property and agents hot in pursuit? There are franchises that thrive solely on that premise simply by given this tale as old as time a thrilling spin that makes audiences forget how familiar the story actually is. With these films, you also know for sure what the end result is going to be. So, if the hope is to give audiences a film that’s worth their while, the ‘how to make the mission possible’ part of the narrative becomes the crux.
Statham’s Orson is described as a highly skilled operative, but one hampered by severe phobias, yet barring the occasional quip that he ought not panic, you never really see him having a full-blown meltdown. Honestly, this would have been a lot more fun than having him look dead-pan throughout, pump a few bullet holes in the bad men and trade some blows. Orson is the definition of monotone here. Poor Aubrey, when she is not going clickety-clack on a laptop and trying to appear nerdy while providing tech support, she is the designated eye-candy. All the hardcore action is reserved for the boys here, well, mainly Statham. If you’d replace Bugzy Malone with any other actor, you wouldn’t notice the difference, that’s how pivotal that role was.
Worst of all, though, was Hugh Grant. I love that man but here, he seems to have taken Guy’s brief of a stiff upper lip quite literally; the actor’s voice modulation and subsequent accent almost seem like the result of a ‘frozen’ face. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d had a tad too much Botox and couldn’t move his mouth, after all. Not to forget, there was Josh Hartnett too in this film, as the stereotypical bumbling egoistical movie star. Nicolas Cage pulled that off so much better in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Verdict: The problem that I had with this film was that I could not figure out the intent – was it supposed to be a thrilling heist movie or a comedy? It didn’t work on either front, so what was it supposed to be? Should you then spend nearly two hours and watch it? Honestly, this may not feature on a recommendation list, but if you are looking to kill a couple of hours and are not looking for something engaging, you could give this one a shot.