This summer’s rather overpriced netflix only movie is Heart of Stone*, a spy thriller-slash-action outing starring Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone. The movie does seem a little predictable from the same studio that is bringing you Mission Impossible they seem to now want to do the same on the streaming service as well. Only in this case they may have tried a little too hard to make us link the two. We all want to see Gadot become an above-the-title star, and she works across from Jamie Dornan, who’s rehabbed his career after being slated for that* 50 Shades franchise*. But this movie? Unfortunately the story line and its acting make it somewhat forgettable, dont get us wrong it is a nice way to spend some time but, the story is too similar to the MI franchise latest outing and on par with the whole “world is being run by AI” band waggon to really pull it off. This movie is trying just a little to hard to launch a new franchise for Netflix and with Gal at the helm odds are it will indeed do just that and this time she will get top billing.
The story line such as it is, Rachel Stone (Gadot) is a humble tech nerd working on a team of MI6 agents – played by Dornan, Paul Ready and Jing Lucy – attempting to infiltrate a remote illegal nightclub-casino so they can take down an arms dealer. Some of the agents inside and our heroine starting outside “in the van” as the running gag you will get sick of says. Normally, Rachel doesn’t get out of the van, but this time she has to, for reasons that the writers just had to make believable. And of course, the whole setup goes from bad to worse, because how else an you see her true training in action assisted by the voice in her earpiece, a man known as the Jack of Hearts (Matthias Schweighofer), who gives her a little digital green line to follow – she must have fancy high-tech contact lenses? – because that route has a higher probability of success than others. The Jack can see everything that happens everywhere, and calculates probabilities on the fly, which only adds to Stone’s unstoppablility.
So from the start you can see that Stone is a spy amongst other spies She belongs to “The Charter”, a covert peacekeeping organisation with no affiliation to any nation. The org possesses a supercomputer AI simply known as “The Heart”, which, can access all audio and video around the planet, access everything plugged in.. the usual, It is a movie wanting to jump on the AI is bad band wagon to capture the new 2023 audiences.
Her colleagues whisper about The Charter, which seems to be a myth; they don’t know Stone is the Nine of Hearts until the plot needs them to know, which is not now, but coming soon. When she meets with her Charter boss Nomad (Sophie Okonedo).
As you can imagine a computer or AI or whatever of that level is a must have for anyone on the planet, with that access and knowledge there is no limit to what can be done for good or for evil (depending on the viewpoint)
We’re about to find out what could happen in the “wrong” hands, although we already saw this plot in Dead Reckoning Part One, so don’t expect anything too revelatory. This is about when the twists start, so I’ll tread carefully, but it’s worth noting that The Heart is kept on a drone-blimp cruising at 80,000 feet above the ground controlled by software not people, because no one could possibly get at that righ.
Stone’s attempts to thwart the bad guys make her way up there, and also to LISBON, PORTUGAL and LONDON, ENGLAND and SENEGAL and ICELAND along the way all whilst being excommunicado from her organisation by the way.
There’s a scene that’s a Charter equivalent of turn-in-your-gun-and-badge, a motorcycle chase on Icelandic roads that look incredibly slippery, some LENS FLARE floating across Okonedo and plenty of time to scroll through your phone or go for a wee.
Heart of Stone plays like all the deleted scenes from the the mission impossible movies, put together and pushed through an AI to attempt to write a script to link them all together in some semblance of order that might make sense.
The movie does sort of work, its no MI or Bond but as a bit of time waster to justify your subscription you could do worse, the plot is thin and predictable, it still is a bit better than the other Gal Gadot movie on netflix Red Notice or Gray man to name but two. But lets hope that the writers strike is over before the next instalment is due to start shooting otherwise this is a train wreck in the offing.
Would like to add, nobody here is overly bad, really. Most are just predictable and generic in nature, Dornan is the only one i would call out as trying too hard in the role, without spoilers he just seems to ham it up a bit.
So its up to you if you want to give this a go as we can see more in the offing from this that ultimately shows itself to be an episode one.