A lifeless Sophie Okonedo plays her boss, Nomad, who recruited her when she was 20 years old. Why? We have no idea! Did she have training beforehand, or was she trained once recruited? “Heart of Stone” doesn’t care.
Netflix stock actor Matthias Schweighöfer plays “Jack of Hearts,” Rachel’s tech aid, who is always plugged into a supercomputer known as The Heart, which allows him to use surveillance data to aid her in her missions. This data visualizes in front of him, which he manipulates with his hands. This was pretty cool … when Tom Cruise’s character did it in “Minority Report.” Here it plays like a shallow, artless copy.
The Charter’s mission is explained multiple times through exposition-laden dialogue. In fact, most characters speak in exposition, try-hard quips, or melodramatic monologues. Actors Paul Ready and Jing Lusi, as Stone’s teammates Bailey and Yang do wonders with their terribly written parts but are not given nearly enough screen time to truly craft fully realized characters.
Jamie Dornan plays teammate Parker like a toned-down version of Colin Farrell in “Daredevil,” which is a shame because his twisty role really should be played at the highest possible decibel. The same goes for Alia Bhatt as hacker Keya, who can never transcend the character’s many cliches. Only model-turned-actor Jon Kortajarena, a bleached blond baddie in a popped-collar leisure suit, seems to understand what this kind of villainous role requires.
This is mostly a disappointment coming from co-screenwriter Greg Rucka, whose screenplay adaptation of his own graphic novel “The Old Guard” had a similar ensemble vibe but with lived-in and richly developed characters. It also helped that the director of that film, Gina Prince-Bythewood, has proven time and again as both an excellent actor’s director and also has a keen eye for staging and filming action sequences.
The same cannot be said for Harper, who cannot properly keep his actors framed—or lit—resulting in many choppy, murky fight scenes. The rest of the action sequences are completely lifted from other, better films. The cold opening in the Alps borrows heavily from more than one Bond movie, while several aerial stunts play like bargain basement “Mission Impossible.” There’s even a sequence that rips off the big dirigible finale from “The Rocketeer”—but with CGI fire that somehow looks worse than the effects in that far superior (and much more fun) 1991 film.