|Worth seeing:||for the typically well choreographed violence and Ritchie's wry humour but not for the highly derivative, sub-Bond narrative|
|Featuring:||Jason Statham, Josh Hartnett, Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone, Cary Elwes, Eddie Marsan, Hugh Grant, Lourdes Faberes, Max Beesley, Oliver Maltman, Peter Ferdinando, Sam Douglas, Tim Seyfi, Tom Rosenthal|
|Country:||China, Turkey, UK, US|
|Released:||7th April 2023|
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
An unknown armed gang have stolen an unknown package from another unknown group during a violent gun-battle in Odessa – but the heist is enough to worry the UK authorities.
A government minister, Knighton (Eddie Marsan), calls in his most reliable security contractor, Nathan (Cary Elwes) who puts his top man, Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) on the job.
Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) is the new tech whiz on the team, because Orson’s preferred sidekick has defected to a rival contractor, Mike (Peter Ferdinando).
The team find out that a ruthless British arms dealer, Greg Simpson (Hugh Grant), is at the heart of the plot but they still don’t know what he’s bought, who he’s selling it to and what they’re going to do with it.
To get close to Simpson, they use a little blackmail to recruit his favourite film star, Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), in the hope that he can charm Simpson into giving up information.
But at every turn, another team of contractors seem to be a step ahead of them, as they try to solve the mystery.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
In most territories, this latest comic crime caper from Guy Ritchie made it onto the big screen, but in the UK, it’s gone straight to streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Entertaining as it is on a base level, it’s underwhelming enough to see why UK audiences will have to watch it in the comfort of their own homes.
There’s almost nothing fresh about this sub-Bond thriller that uses a film-star to infiltrate a criminal gang led by a billionaire playboy.
From a megalomaniac villain trying to dominate the world to a catalogue of holiday destinations that takes in everywhere from Madrid and Doha to Antalya, complete with hi-tech gadgets and haute couture, you could substitute Eddie Marsan for M and this might as well be Jason Statham’s audition for 007, or Josh Hartnett could be filling Nicolas Cage’s shoes from the recent Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Hugh Grant is clearly having fun – but he’s just playing a less interesting version of the cheeky chappie he did for Guy Ritchie in The Gentlemen.
There are plenty of well choreographed hand-to-hand combat scenes, violent shoot-outs and one-liners, some of which score a direct hit, while most ricochet around a bit until they make contact with the wrong thing.
It’s full of billionaire bullies and their eastern European henchmen and Turkish thugs, lining up like dominoes for their brief moment of background celebrity, as Statham’s gang inches ever closer to finding out who wants to do what to whom with what – and despite some clunky twists and turns, when we finally find out, it feels rather less dramatic than you might expect from a wannabe Bond film.
Bursting with stars from previous Ritchie films and ticking off all the necessary ingredients for a comedy crime caper, it all feels rather familiar, however much fun it might be in its better moments.
And with the original heist taking place in Odessa and one of the criminal gangs involved being Ukrainian, elements of the film feel somewhat tone-deaf, given the current conflict in the country.