Gal Gadot leads the way in Netflix’s latest ambitious attempt at starting a franchise, providing just enough mindless summer entertainment to pique our curiosity for what’s to come.
Sky-High Gambles: Mission Impossible vs. Heart of Stone
This summer, the film industry witnessed the daring gamble of Tom Cruise’s extravagant $300 million-budgeted seventh mission as Ethan Hunt.
With financial uncertainties looming over this massive investment, attention turns to Skydance, the production company behind the film, as they place their bets on the potential Netflix franchise-starter, “Heart of Stone.” Boasting lower costs and stakes, it’s a high-stakes game with a different set of rules.
A Streamer’s Struggle: Copycat Caper or Hidden Gem?
Comparisons are inevitable when it comes to Netflix’s action-packed lineup. Previous attempts, like “6 Underground,” “The Gray Man,” and “Red Notice,” have often fallen short, feeling more like imitations of imitations.
However, “Heart of Stone” manages to stand out, even if only slightly, offering a surprisingly improved experience. Director Tom Harper, known for his work on “Misfits” and “Peaky Blinders,” brings a steady hand to the helm, guided by cinematographer George Steel. The result? A film that’s both adrenaline-charged and visually polished, a step up from the usual Netflix fare.
A Formula for Fun: Balancing Action and Entertainment
In its attempt to rival the grandeur of “Mission: Impossible” and the allure of 007, “Heart of Stone” focuses on delivering larger-than-life locations and equally impressive stunts.
From night-time parachuting in the Alps to high-speed car chases in Lisbon, the film’s grand scale is hard to ignore. While it sweeps audiences along, the challenge lies in making these spectacles memorable once the credits roll.
The Charter: Tech, Thrills, and Gal Gadot
The film introduces us to “The Charter,” a clandestine organization of global agents who step in when governments fall short. Guided by an advanced tech system known as “the heart,” they predict outcomes on the field.
Gal Gadot portrays Stone, an agent who values instinct over technology, causing friction with her mentor Nomad (Sophie Okonedo). As she’s forced into the role of a hero due to a new threat, the stage is set for action-packed chaos.
Riding the Rollercoaster: Propulsive Nonsense with Unexpected Flair
While the film’s plot might be nonsense at its core, it’s a surprisingly fast-paced and engaging form of nonsense. Presented with a level of studio sophistication that defies expectations for a Netflix film, it moves briskly and efficiently. Among its strengths are a genuinely unexpected reveal and a cameo from an Oscar-nominated actor.
Gal Gadot’s Center Stage: Action Star Power
In the midst of the chaos, Gal Gadot takes center stage. While not the most convincing actor in emotional or humorous scenes, she excels in selling the physical demands of her role. Her character, like Ethan Hunt, is a vessel for action, allowing her to shine in her element.
Tone and Action: A Mix of Hits and Misses
Navigating tone proves a bit of a challenge for “Heart of Stone.” The film occasionally stumbles in its attempts at humor, yet excels in its action sequences. Though it may not reach the heights of “Mission: Impossible,” it maintains a delicate balance between self-aware silliness and over-the-top absurdity, akin to “The Old Guard.”
The Future of Stone: A Promising Franchise?
As the credits roll and the dust settles, “Heart of Stone” leaves audiences intrigued about its potential sequels. While not without its flaws, the film promises a future of entertaining escapades that could very well become a welcome addition to the expanding world of Netflix action franchises.