I decided a while back that Guy Ritchie‘s Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (Lionsgate, 3.3) was almost certainly meh-level or, you know, some kind of problem. Partly because it began filming over two years ago (1.14.21), and then the previously scheduled 1.21.22 release was abandoned by STX Entertainment “without comment.”

Not to mention Ritchie’s rep as a skilled hack who makes Guy Ritchie films….nothing wrong with that, but nothing great about it either. Plus there’s no forgiving Ritchie for making those two repulsively awful Robert Downey Sherlock Holmes films (in ’09 and ’11). Plus the only Jason Statham movie that didn’t blow chunks was Roger Donaldson‘s The Bank Job (’08),

Right now Operation Fortune has a 66% Rotten Tomatoes rating. That means it has problems. That means it’s at least half a wank.

Fortune has less to recommend than even the weakest of the Bond films, according to The Age‘s Jake Wilson. “The banter is witless, the action sequences perfunctory and the take on global affairs is almost too wilfully empty-headed to be labelled as cynicism. If a film such as this can be defended, it’s as an invitation to set adulthood aside. As with much genre storytelling, what we’re dealing with is a child’s game writ large – but with more than the usual indifference to whether anything seems ‘real’.”

But wait…Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman was impressed by the damn thing. The leadline of his 3.1.23 actually calls it a “home run.” HE to Glierbamn: Wait a minute, wait a minute…what? Guy Ritchie doesn’t hit homers, and he hasn’t slammed a triple since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in ’98. His brand is about hitting mostly doubles and occasional singles.

Gleiberman: “The script of Operation Fortune is a gem, allowing this to be the rare thriller that’s as driven by words as an old Hollywood movie. Yet it’s Ritchie’s direction that makes every scene vibrate. His talent is on full display, though now it’s held in perfect perspective.

“The Cannes yacht scene is intricate enough to rival what Tarantino brought off in Inglourious Basterds” — I didn;t like Inglourious Basterds all that much! — “and the climax, set in the power tower of those biotech moguls, spins on a reversal of expectation about one of the film’s characters that’s wily enough to be exhilarating. The sparingly used helicopter shots expand the action with an almost musical visual flair.

“All of this makes me want to go back and watch Guy Ritchie’s early movies again. Will I change my mind about them? Probably not. Yet with Operation Fortune, Ritchie rules. In this movie, he’s like Howard Hawks in overdrive. Tom Cruise, Barbara Broccoli and everyone else in Hollywood: take heed.”