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Netflix’s latest spy thriller is a slave to artificial intelligence

To say that the new Netflix spy thriller “Heart of Stone” isn’t anything special doesn’t exactly reflect that it isn’t. This isn’t a “second screen” thing, exists in the background While you’re eating on your phone or going down to throw a blotter. No, this is more like third screen material; “Heart of Stone” works like a downtrodden secret agent on a deep background while you watch something else on your laptop, while simultaneously searching for “Gal Gadot” and “better movies” on the phone.

“Heart of Stone” is about a race that travels the globe for control of the world’s most powerful artificial intelligence (“Mission: Impossible 7” and the shadows of a hundred other films) powered by a truly know-it-all quantum computer. Gadot stars as Rachel Stone, a relatively newbie to the MI6 British intelligence team. In the ten minutes of the Italian Alps melee in which the good guys hunt down a sinister arms dealer, we learn that Stone is working on the sly for the global spy network known as The Charter. Charter’s ace in the hole is Heart, the AI ​​thing advanced enough to predict the future. The movie only suggests that; Taking advantage of this aspect requires a lot of effort.

Screenwriters Greg Rucka and Allison Schroedera ask the question: Can Condition take control of Heart? Or will it fall into the treacherous hands of all the pro hackers played by Alia Bhatt, the most interesting actress seen in the crazy “RRR” lately? Some world-ruling weasels are in collaboration with the weasel and the weasel is a spoiler. Ok, I’ll play this once.

Every line in director Tom Harper’s digital effects jankfest feels like it was written for the trailer. “I can’t believe it. First time seeing Europe’s most wanted arms dealer in three years,” muttered one of Stone’s co-workers, helpfully as we need to know this information. It makes you yearn for relatively realistic and cinematic payoffs. newest “Mission: Impossible.”

In Lisbon, after car chases and motorcycle chases and the dispatch of various “enemies”, a one minute what? reverse corner, even weirder because “Heart of Stone” doesn’t shut up that the Heart literally knows everything and sees everything. When the plot comes in though, Stone has a phrase (he paraphrases it here) “Yeah, I didn’t see that coming,” and then his wise and weary boss (helpful Sophie Okonedo) adds: “No, Heart didn’t see it either.” The heart is omnipotent but extremely lazy?

Regardless of the venue, indoor sequences favor dim, low-contrast digital photography, which adds to the overall mood. To be a true onscreen action hero outside of the world of “Wonder Woman”, Gadot needs better material than this, and “Heart of Stone” only takes a human pulse when confronted by Bhatt’s increasingly conflicted supercomputer.

There is a lot of killing and random brutality in “Heart of Stone”. Staring at his fiercest opponent in the fourth or fifth peak, Stone reprimands the villain for being purely “threats and violence” and inclined to “treat everyone around you with brutality”. Hey, just like in the movie! And Later Based entirely on the threat of AI for its script, “Heart of Stone” has the hypocritical arrogance of adding a line about how Heart is an “incredible tool,” and AI isn’t a miracle, but in the end you can’t always listen to the algorithms.

Tell Netflix.

“Heart of Stone” — 1.5 stars (out of 4)

MPA rating: PG-13 (for violence and action sequences and some language)

Working time: 2:05

How to watch: Launches August 11 on Netflix.

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.

mjphillips@chicagotribune.com

twitter @phillipstribune



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