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  • Robert Farago

Heart of Stone - Movie Review

Spoilers 'a plenty

“Stay in the van,” MI6 operatives instruct Agent Rachel Stone in the opening scene of Netflix’s Heart of Stone. Anyone who’s ever seen a movie knows what happens next…

To no one’s surprise - save her fictional colleagues - Stone bugs out and all Hell breaks loose. Wait. No. That’s not it. All Mission Impossible breaks out.

The Spy Who Loved Me, too. Except Ms. Stone’s Bond-a-like pursues the bad guys down the slopes on a motorcycle. With the help of a VR guide. At night. Eventually. And the parachute escape comes later in Ms. Gadot’s ostensible thriller.

The key difference between Mission Impossible and Heart of Stone: there isn’t one. I lie. Gal Gadot is female and three inches taller than Cruise. Who isn’t? Taller, I mean.

Cruise ditched his New Yawk accent back when L. Ron Hubbard was busy claiming tomatoes had feelings. Gadot struggles to escape an Israeli accent that constantly puts the emphasis on the wrong sy-LA-ble, making a mockery of dialogue that doesn’t need any help in that regard.

While both Hunt and Stone work for an “off the books” spy agency, Hunt’s MI team occasionally pretends to have some government oversight. Which it ignores, obviously. Stone’s Charter is more like the Kingsman: beholden to no one save the wardrobe department.

The Heart is at the heart of Heart of Stone.

The Heart is a helium blimp-born supercomputer that can hack any computer anywhere. It works just like the swipe-the-air-like-you-just-don’t-care computer in Agent Cruise’s Minority Report. Only visually incomprehensible.

The Heart gives Charter – whose agents’ intelligence makes me doubt they went to a Charter School – the odds of success for any course of events, save the chances that plausible plot pedants will be screaming WTF! at the screen every 10 minutes or so.

I put that probability at 100 percent.

Naming the supercomputer in Netflix’s spy vs. spy movie “Heart” just begs for pun-based ridicule. Heart attack! Home is where the Heart isn’t. Stone has a Heart-on for the bad guy. Etc.

I get the sense that the scriptwriters chose the moniker to establish a theme. Prohibited from personal relationships by a spymaster named after Star Trek’s homicidal satellite (or tribes wandering the desert looking for diversity), Agent Stone needs to follow her heart instead of her nerdy head.

Despite almost dancing with an Irish heartthrob and defying orders to save her beloved MI6 team - as a Charter member of the John Wick farm team – the metaphor ends up in the same place as the exploded blimp. The same place as Gadot’s attempt to… what’s the word? Act.

Heart of Stone tries to hide Ms. Gadot’s charismectomy by subjecting us to a chase scene designed to make people believe that a clapped-out VW van (borrowed from Extraction 2) can escape a phalanx of machine-gun toting baddies in three perfectly good cars and multiple adventure-style motorcycles – and two scriptwriters who couldn’t write their way out of a paper bag.

Ms. Gadot’s main claim to fame: she’s not hard to look at. Save the last 20 seconds of the film, the 2004 Miss Universe contestant suffers from a distinct lack of sex appeal. She looks svelte enough in the swimming pool scene, but rough as an unfinished basement in most others.

It may be heartless for me to say, but Gadot agent Michael Sugar should have given his client a Heart bypass. Heart of Stone may not be a career killer, but it bloody well should be.

Heart of Stone is clearly an attempt to establish a tentpole series so the production team can continue their quest for exotic-looking locations where tax credits pay for production costs. The Heart wants what the Heart wants, but I want my two hours and three minutes back.

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