Review: 'Heart of Stone' launches Alia Bhatt in Hollywood but doesn't lead her to fly

Heart of Stone never quite rises above its imitations but to be watching an actioner with stakes this high, scale this big, music this good and gorgeous people this effective is a treat nevertheless.

Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone

What a couple of weeks it has been for Alia Bhatt, isn't it? Basking in the continued success of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (read the review here), the actor now has her much-awaited and talked-about Hollywood debut, Heart of Stone arriving today. What I can practise as the first thing to do right away is applaud the actor for choosing a debut that actually is a legitimate debut as one of the principal characters and not just a cameo or so.

Apart from that, Heart of Stone stars Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan as well as it promises an adrenaline-rushing, mind-bending action extravaganza that you expected from the trailer as well amidst a ton of betrayals, shockers and of course, insane fun. Having had the chance to see the film beforehand, here is what I thought about it-

The Action & in Abundance

The Action & in Abundance

The one promise that Heart of Stone over-delivers on is big-scale action. We knew there is going to be plenty of it but little did we know that it is going to be in abundance. To their credit, the high-risk, testosterone-boosting and breath-taking action pieces are indeed a marvel to gorge on. There is a sense of innovation with a few pieces especially the introductory snow chase sequence and the one-on-one combat between Gadot's Rachel Stone and another character (it is a spoiler, cannot reveal the name). 

The first half, especially has two long scenes and this is where it becomes a minor problem. Action sequences can be brilliant to enjoy but if the plan is indeed to keep it long, it has to be smartly infused with breaks and humor just like the likes of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One and John Wick: Chapter 4 did earlier this year. However, there isn't much of that happening here and hence a few of these long pieces end up overstaying their welcome. And a few other pieces towards the climax also feel rather unoriginal as opposed to the ones earlier.

Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt

Here we are talking about a trailblazing woman in the form of Alia Bhatt. It is popularly known that Bhatt was pregnant while shooting for Heart of Stone and having seen her do several crazy things in this film, one can only respect her even more. Unfortunately, though, Bhatt as Keya Dhawan, in spite of getting a cool entry shot and a relatively satisfactory arc doesn't quite make an impact the way we are used to with Bhatt doing so otherwise. Her effort isn't a question where you can see she is trying her best but that becomes a concern as it is then a case of trying too hard. A lot has to do with acting in a language you aren't used to. But even then, as mentioned earlier, kudos to Bhatt for choosing a Hollywood debut like this where she is one of the main characters and not just a filler! Even an underwhelming Alia Bhatt is better than so many acting performances out there.

Lack of Emotions & Rehash

Lack of Emotions & Rehash

The fatal mistake that several action films usually end up making is focusing on the madness so much that the core of having human emotions and a pound storyline is compromised. Heart of Stone is also guilty of the same as it never manages to have you invested or care about its principal characters as such. The most you do care for is Bhatt's Keya Dhawan purely because of the hoops she goes through but even that isn't actually enough.

Furthermore, as hinted above, the third act of the film and even a couple of scenes barring the action end up looking almost too similar to the other action films we are used ranging from the likes of the Mission Impossible series to even a few Michael Bay films.

Ambition & Other Performances

Ambition & Other Performances

With Heart of Stone, the ambition is sky-high and with all the technical departments responsible for designing and executing these action pieces deserve special honors. Some of the most crazy and unimaginable stunts are done with finesse and the inclusion of technology and the VFX utilisation is also top-notch. To be watching this being made for a streaming platform which might be viewers on a small device as well is almost too good to be true.

Coming to the other performances, Gal Gadot delivers a career-best performance when it comes to this genre which she has lately been an active part of. Jamie Dornan is impactful as well while the likes of Jing Lusi and Paul Ready as Yang and Bailey respectively are also impressive.

The Verdict

Heart of Stone never quite rises above its imitations but to be watching an actioner with stakes this high, scale this big, music this good and gorgeous people this effective is a treat nevertheless. While watching on your mobile device might be a preference but make sure to watch this film on the biggest screen possible with your in-house sound system as you enjoy a good comforting time at your house or otherwise.

Rating - *** (3/5)

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Alia Bhatt Thumbnail

Alia Bhatt

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Gal Gadot

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Comments (1)

I really loved it, This is the tale of Erica, Claudia, and Anna, three lifelong friends who come to the inn for their yearly book club vacation but have no idea how much their lives will entwine with that of Hattie, the recently widowed proprietor. Over all, the book was worth it, and I really felt it, but I also tried to find it on other platforms too, but I didn't get it. I think this should get published on other online platforms like Shabd.in it can reach more people.

6 months ago

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