Skip to Content

‘Heart of Stone’ suits up Gal Gadot in a not-so-wonderful spy thriller

<i>Robert Viglasky/Netflix</i><br/>‘Heart of Stone’ suits up Gal Gadot in a not-so-wonderful spy thriller.
Robert Viglasky/Netflix
‘Heart of Stone’ suits up Gal Gadot in a not-so-wonderful spy thriller.

Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

(CNN) — A self-conscious effort to build a spy franchise around Gal Gadot, “Heart of Stone” plays like a poor woman’s “Mission: Impossible,” mostly thwarting even its star’s Wonder-ful charisma. Despite solid action moments scattered over its two hours, this Netflix movie plays like an inoffensive but lifeless addition to the “You might like” feature that, alas, you probably won’t.

Almost like a Mad magazine riff on the “Spy v. Spy” comic strip, the semi-intriguing premise casts Gadot as Rachel Stone, introduced as a “baby agent” at Britain’s MI6 whose job is to sit in the van and provide intel to the hardened field operatives. As it turns out, though, Stone is really a lethal operative for a shadowy group known as the Charter, a spy network that’s merely a legend among her MI6 colleagues, working to overcome threats using a high-tech AI known as the Heart.

Identified only by playing-card names (Jack of Hearts, etc.), Stone’s Charter contacts include her imperious boss (Sophie Okonedo) and a skilled tech maestro (“Army of Thieves’” Matthias Schweighöfer) who feeds information into her ear, instantly factoring probabilities on a device that exists somewhere between “Minority Report” and the CBS series “Person of Interest.”

All this activity of course occurs in secret from Stone’s crack MI6 team – under the leadership of Parker (Jamie Dornan, a few years removed from his “Fifty Shades of Grey” service) – which finds itself on the tail of skilled hacker (“RRR’s” Alia Bhatt) who manages to infiltrate their communications apparatus during a 20-minute pre-credit sequence set in the Italian alps.

It’s around that point where “Heart of Stone” takes an unexpected twist, which offers more hope for the movie, frankly, than it proceeds to deliver; rather, the situation devolves into a somewhat convoluted game of spy v. spy v. spy, while making pitstops in various international locales and letting Stone dish out considerable punishment as well as take it.

Directed by Tom Harper (whose last streaming effort, “The Aeronauts,” also didn’t quite stay airborne), “Heart of Stone” capitalizes on Gadot’s inherent likability – a ruthless agent burdened by, yes, a heart – without bringing enough distinctive elements to this exercise to make it feel like much more than a “Mission” wannabe.

At least Gadot’s previous action-filled undertaking for Netflix, “Red Notice,” brought a playfulness and humor to this well-worn genre. By contrast, even the most notable bites here – one set on and around a blimp comes to mind – hardly seem to justify consuming the whole thing.

Granted, nobody has a monopoly on this kind of thriller, and Gadot makes a striking protagonist even when she’s a mere mortal who can’t deflect bullets. Yet the structure of “Heart of Stone” doesn’t help by beginning in the middle and providing little in the way of backstory to separate Stone from any number of other cinematic spies.

Finally, the movie comes across as yet another movie stitched together from parts of others. By that measure, even if its heart is in the right place, it’s the other pieces that feel a bit out of whack.

“Heart of Stone” premieres August 11 on Netflix. It’s rated PG-13.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Entertainment

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content