HEART OF STONE IS AS COLD AS ICE!
Heart of Stone opens just like any other spy film...ever! In the middle of an operation, some random location usually at a party or event with lots of innocent bystanders around. You meet the team, there is usually some casual comedy slotted in and cheesy dialogue exchanged. Then the bad guy appears, the team either get their man which usually leads to some other secret weapon that's being hidden which they have a limited amount of time to find or there is a double cross, or their plan fails, either way it sets up the story to then unfold over the next 120 mins or so. Lucky for you, with Heart Of Stone, you get all three!
As nice as it is to see a woman as the central action figure, its a shame that woman was Gal Gadot. Don't get me wrong, she's beautiful and talented but she is over-used! We've been down this road before many times; Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie etc. I get the need to draw in viewers especially with blockbusters that need to make good on their budget. But enough Hollywood, of regurgitating the same actors in mainstream big budget roles. Learn to share the love with the millions of talented women and men out there. Because this isn't just about Gal, oh no, the biggest casting blunder would have to go to Jamie Dornan. Again, Jamie is nice to look at and even in some of his work, he does a decent job, like The Fall, brilliant. But Jamie is not the hot shot, muscle man, blockbuster action movie kinda guy, In fact, I don't think I've seen him exhibit any other facial expression other than his 'resting face' in any of his work. Probably the only person who was cast perfectly was Matthias Schweighöfer, but maybe a little too perfectly, Matthias probably should watch out or else he will end up being another typecast-ed actor.
AT LEAST THE STORY IS RELEVANT
Well yes, maybe the best decision they made was creating a relatively original and relevant story line. Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be the topic of conversation at the moment, and it was only a matter of time before an action film used it as the premise of their story line. With AI taking over the world there is a lot of concern about people's privacy, access to locations of nuclear weapons and who should have the power to own such knowledge. In this case AI comes in the form of 'The Heart' which is a device hidden in the sky that holds all the worlds knowledge and is used by a secret peacekeeping agency called 'The Charter'. However the enemy knows of its existence and infiltrates a government agency to try and find out its location.
It's not that Heart of Stone is bad, it's just that its not very good. Everything about this film has been seen and done before. A simple, light hearted action movie, with some government angle, double cross, thinly injected back story about our heroin to make her seem more relatable, and a few touching moments that try to build some form of emotional entanglements between our central figures. The use of high-tech gadgets which make the already impossible action sequences appear even more ridiculous and the mid way 'story line twist' that you're supposed to not see coming, all scream 'every action movie ever made!'
I KNOW THESE MOVIES ARE MEANT TO BE UNREALISTIC...BUT C'MON
What annoys me about films like this, is how unrealistic they make the characters. The action is over the top, but its to be expected. For me, its the waste of time they spend trying to build connections with the characters. If you are going to do it, then do it right. Create genuine bonds between the characters, don't just inject a few scenes here and there, and rely on uncomfortable pauses and across the room eye contact. If you want the audience to give a shit about a death, or a double cross then BUILD IT UP! Make us care about the people in the film. Because anytime they drop a 'shocking twist' it completely falls flat if you don't care about the people involved.
Another thing that annoys me, is how these films jump from location to location to random and somewhat isolating parts of the world, to which our characters seem to just click their fingers and arrive to such destination in record timing. I get its not a national geographic film, but we can only suspend our disbelief so much.
SO WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT IT?
Well...for those people who don't get to travel much, action movies like these do allow you to live vicariously through the characters and their island hopping. Also, thanks to CGI and advanced technology, action sequences these days, can be a lot of fun to watch, and Heart Of Stone does open with quite the heart racer. But i'm afraid, it doesn't have a lot else going for it. Although, maybe that's exactly what you're after. Action movies have never really inspired much intellect. They aren't made to encourage conversation or debate about the state of our world. They are made to simply entertain us, so we can shut off our brains and go on a crazy, action induced, unrealistic, dangerous journey that for the every day person would never ever happen during their lifetime.
I get it, I love me some action too, and I really wanted to get behind this movie. But in every possible way, Heart Of Stone, falls behind even what would be a tolerable action film. The worst part, is from my understanding, Netflix wants to make this a franchise...why am I not surprised!?