Just as I predicted over the weekend, Gal Gadot’s new Netflix spy thriller Heart of Stone is dominating the platform — it’s currently the most-watched Netflix movie in the US — in spite of terrible Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores. I agree 110% with criticisms that the movie is “disposable,” “hollow,” and “soulless,” some of the many unfortunate adjectives that dominate the reviews of Heart of Stone on Rotten Tomatoes, where the film has a terrible 32% critics’ score — as well as a barely passable 61% audience score (and a 5.7/10 over at IMDb).
Honestly, I love the spy genre more than most and am willing to give all kinds of material in the genre a chance. This new Netflix movie, though, is just another example of how much over-the-top ridiculousness exists in the genre — and, in fact, any movie or TV show that refers to its characters as “secret agents” has already lost my interest, right from the top.
Watch these three Netflix original movies instead of Heart of Stone
Consider this yet another reminder that just because a TV show or movie like Heart of Stone ends up ranking in the top spot on the streamer, that absolutely does not mean it’s the best. The #1 ranking has more to do with recency and with a critical mass of people deciding to sample it, whether they end up actually liking it or not.
So, again: Ignore that Heart of Stone is the #1 movie on Netflix right now. It should definitely be avoided if you’re looking for a quality film to watch on the streamer. And if you need some new ideas on that score? Check out the following three top-notch Netflix movies worth watching instead.
If you were intrigued enough about Heart of Stone to consider checking it out on the basis of the trailer, maybe it was because you were hooked by the promise of an espionage-filled story. If that was the case, Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat offers a much better option.
The movie, based on Ben Macintyre’s fascinating book of the same name that you should absolutely read if you love WWII and spy stories, is all about a small contingent of spymasters who cooked up an audacious plot during the Second World War that successfully tricked Hitler.
The gist of Operation Mincemeat: To distract German attention from a planned Allied invasion, the masterminds behind British deception operations decide to slip the Germans some bad intelligence — the idea being to convince the Germans to shift their attention away from where the invasion was actually set to take place.
As you can imagine, though, getting bogus intelligence into German hands is easy enough. The hard part is how to convince the Germans to actually believe it and act on it.
As for this next Netflix movie that I think is worth your time, Kill Boksoon is a Korean crime thriller that will satisfy your desire for pulse-pounding action far more than Heart of Stone would have. As a matter of fact, Kill Boksoon feels a little like what you’d get if you crossed a Korean auteur with, say, Quentin Tarantino in his prime.
What to know about the movie: The protagonist of Kill Boksoon is a woman, played by Jeon Do-yeon, who’s both a mother of a teenage daughter as well as a hired killer with a 100% success rate. In fact, she works at an agency that hires out its assassins for jobs.
Long story short, when it’s time to renew her contract with the agency, she decides she’d rather retire and put that life behind her so that she can focus on fixing her relationship with her daughter. Before notifying the agency of her decision, however, she’s on one last assignment, discovers a secret, and decides to break the agency’s rules because of it.
That leads to, like the title suggests, not only her agency but everyone in the hitman industry angling to do the same thing: Kill Boksoon. John Wick fans, I think you, too, will love this one.
The Old Guard
Finally, here’s one for the fantasy/superhero fans out there.
The Old Guard is based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Greg Rucka, and the gritty, action-packed story here is focused on a warrior named Andy (Charlize Theron). She leads a group of mercenaries who have the mysterious inability to die — and who’ve protected the world for centuries.
“But when the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile (KiKi Layne), the newest soldier to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary,” Netflix explains in its official synopsis.