Heart of Stone Review – Gal Gadot’s new spy-thriller kinda works
Watch the trailer below:
Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot) appears to be an inexperienced tech, on an elite MI6 unit headed up by lead agent Parker (Jamie Dornan). What her MI6 team doesn’t know is that Stone actually works for the Charter — a covert peacekeeping organization, secret even from other spies, which uses cutting-edge technology to neutralize global threats. Rachel has been trained to be the consummate professional: a phenomenal field agent who sticks to the mission, follows the numbers, and trusts no one. When a routine mission is derailed by mysterious hacker Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt), Rachel’s two lives collide. As she races to protect the Charter and strives to beat the odds, her humanity might just be her biggest asset.
Heart of Stone for me was a promising spy-thriller film starring Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. But it’s go paper thin premise very predictable scenarios and moments but still has some big potential. They had every good element too from a sultry super spy, high tech gadgetry, amazing set pieces and beautiful people doing evil things. But for me, I have to echo what other reviewers are saying, it came around the time people are still buzzing about Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One. So it couldn’t steal the thunder and felt like it was too soon.
The writing by Wonder Woman scribe Greg Rucka was OK but there were so many things that made it formulaic. I guess Netflix didn’t want to go all in and chose to fold with this feature. One might think that they could have pulled off great things with Gal Gadot front and center but instead fell in line with other summer blockbusters. Here’s to hoping they get better for the sequel because the film definitely ends with a potential sequel. Still, for a popcorn film, the movie was OK. I truly loved the freefall set piece where we see Rachel Stone trying to parachute away from an exploding plane (or was it a dirigible). It looked great but again comparisons to other films might be raised such as Uncharted and even Marvel’s Black Widow movie.
Jamie Dornan‘s character here is hit or miss for me. Sometimes, he’s got this oozing charm and then he’s doing a great bit as a sleazy, slimy character then the next you sort of tune out to what he’s doing. Could have done better with the character Parker but with a limited time frame, you kind of understand why they didn’t flesh him out more.
That ending was also very anti-climatic after setting up what could have been a great action scene in the end, ends up to be a dud for me. Like that was it? A half-baked fist fight. I was expecting more bombs and blasts or at least a fight that’s really bombastic in nature much like how the old James Bond movies usually ends but that didn’t happen here.
I did like the twists here and there for the surprise element but it could have had more strong emotional impact.
The “McGuffin” for this is the Charter’s “Heart”, very similar to the main adversary in the Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning film (see the resemblance now?) and while its supposed to be powerful, it was written to look mid at the very best. No threat of nuclear war at the tip of the controller’s finger tips, no real threat other than the ability to release elevator brakes and kill people through suffocation. At the very best, it’s just scaring you from automating your house at the most the chance that your personal information could be used against you.
The set pieces and visuals can be amazing and engaging including that parachute scene at the start of the movie as well as that death-defying freefall to the desert. That was intense. I loved it and Gadot definitely showed her physicality with those scenes. What I am a little bored of is the car chase that didn’t have that much impact for me plus it didn’t highlight Gadot’s strong points. I’d prefer that we get an extended fight scene for the team escaping rather than a prolonged and boring car chase.
7/10 – Heart of Stone was ok as it stands but it could have been better in terms of writing and execution. Still Netflix nabbed a great talent with Gal Gadot and the rest of her team. They really need to keep screenwriter Greg Rucka too because “Heart of Stone” is a comic book fan’s wet dream especially with the tandem of onscreen Wonder Woman and the guy who gave us great WW stories in DC Comics. This isn’t the end of Rachel Stone so I hope that they produce a superior sequel where they play up the tension and the danger. Otherwise, this was an OK flick.