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MOVIE REVIEW: Gadot turns superspy in ‘Heart of Stone’

It’s turning out to be quite a summer for superspies and supercomputers.

A month after the action feast of “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part I,” in which Tom Cruise faced off with an AI supervillain called “the Entity,” comes a very “MI”-like international espionage thriller with an equally fancy and powerful machine.

“Heart of Stone” stars Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone, an agent for an elite and clandestine intelligence agency called the Charter. Like “Mission: Impossible,” “Heart of Stone” hits glamorous global destinations (the Italian Alps, Lisbon, Senegal, Iceland) and features lengthy actions sequence including a wingsuit skydive.

Whereas “Dead Reckoning” pushed old-school filmmaking to extremes for a gripping theatrical experience, “Heart of Stone” revels in its digital wizardry, feels vaguely algorithm-y in its conception and was made for Netflix. Both films, interestingly, are products of the same production company, Skydance.

“Mission: Impossible” was born out of the Cold War, but “Heart of Stone” conjures a peacekeeping spy unit outside of nationhood in the hopes of kickstarting a new franchise uncluttered by governments — a globetrotting spy movie without all those pesky geopolitics; a borderless intelligence agency for a borderless streaming era.

That may sound too harsh. After all, there have been countless lackluster espionage thrillers with little connection to the real world. (“Dead Reckoning,” for all its thrills, has about as much to do with today’s international politics as its star has to do with lengthy interviews with journalists.) And “Heart of Stone,” directed by Tom Harper ( “Wild Rose,” ” The Aeronauts” ), does have a few nifty moves of its own.

The film’s opening sequence begins in a very Bond-like Alpine hotel where Gadot’s Stone is part of an MI6 mission posing as an inexperienced tech, not a field agent. This allows for plenty of “She can do that?” looks when the operation falls apart and Stone begins flashing Cruise-level skills while rushing off with a glowing parachute down the darkened slopes in slinky, snowy chase.

“Heart of Stone,” a Netflix release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for sequences of violence and action, and some language. Running time: 123 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.


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