Let’s just get one thing straight. Netflix original movies are the modern replacement for direct-to-DVD films. While there are some exceptions (especially around award season), almost every Netflix original film is aimed squarely at the most casual of viewers. The many original series on the streamer are super high quality, but original films are usually not that great. Heart of Stone is a step up from the usual movie fodder on Netflix, but still a far cry away from being good.
Heart of Stone follows Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot), an MI6 agent who usually sits in the van and does all of the behind the scenes tech work. When a secret organization is revealed, and a powerful quantum computer falls into the wrong hands, Rachel must step up to take care of business.
That may sound like a fairly barebones plot, and that’s because it is. The motivations of the main antagonists are shoddy at best. One wants to get revenge because a very bad man killed her parents, and the other wants revenge because a secret MI6 operation went poorly a number of years ago. The problem is that while both claim they’re after a truly better world (not the typical skewed super villain version of a better world), they’re more than willing to kill a number of innocent people along the way.
A film like this becomes significantly better when the villains steal the show. When an audience can relate to what the villain wants to do, and almost wants to side with the villain, a film is elevated to more than just another action movie. Instead, the motivations of the villains in Heart of Stone don’t make a lot of sense, and almost completely contradict their actions. A quick look at the writing duo and it’s clear to see why this is the case, with neither having particularly good credits to their name.
Gal Gadot is doing her best to make this whole thing work, but her fellow MI6 agents don’t fare quite as well, offering lopsided performances. The action sequences makeup for most of the lackluster acting, but the AI McGuffin is played out and uninspired. There are a couple of twists that start to bring a bit of intrigue to the proceedings, but the plot moves along too quickly, and doesn’t stay focused on these more interesting turns.
The secret organization is run by four “kings” who actually seem very interesting when they’re first introduced. Unfortunately, they have a grand total of two speaking scenes, and are only in the movie for roughly five minutes. Despite this, they’re somehow very important to the plot, which helps to run the movie into the ground since they’re not around long enough for the audience to care.
Heart of Stone feels like a watered down version of Mission: Impossible. As a theatrical release it would pale in comparison to John Wick: Chapter 4 or Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. As a movie of the week on Netflix, it’s actually not terrible. It’s a quick two hour action flick that you’ll forget about as soon as the credits roll, but you won’t hate yourself for spending two hours on it.
About Heart of Stone
Synopsis: An intelligence operative for a shadowy global peacekeeping agency races to stop a hacker from stealing its most valuable and dangerous weapon.
Director: Tom Harper
Writers: Greg Rucka, Allison Schroeder
Stars: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Jing Lusi
Runtime: 2 Hour, 2 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.