Thursday, August 10, 2023

Operation Napoleon

It sounds like it was based on a Robert Ludlum novel, but it is really adapted from a book by Icelandic writer Arnaldur Indridason. That title certainly has a Ludlumesque ring to it and it also happens to be a Nazi thriller, but they aren’t the bad guys. Instead, it is the CIA who are the villains in Oscar Thor Axelsson’s Operation Napoleon, which releases tomorrow in theaters and on-demand.

Right before Hitler’s suicide, a mysterious flight left Berlin disappearing into legend and conspiracy theories. Shadowy CIA bigwig William Carr (played by Scottish actor Iain Glen) and his late father have been looking for it ever since. Kristin’s outdoorsy brother Elias and his mates have the bad luck of stumbling across the wreckage of the fabled plane while exploring one of Iceland’s melting glaciers. Soon, Carr’s trusted enforcer Julie Ratoff (played by British thesp Adesuwa Oni) is stabbing them to death with a pencil.

Elias manages to escape Ratoff on the ice, so Carr dispatches his assassin Simon (played by German actor Wotan Wilke Mohring) to eliminate Kristin, since she saw her brother’s posts. However, being a sharky corporate loan officer, Kristin easily eludes Simon, with the help of her ghosted boyfriend, Steve Rush, a British professor, who specializes in American military history.

Finland just joined Iceland in NATO and their fellow Scandinavian nation Sweden is well on its way as well, but apparently Axelsson and Indridason consider their Ally, the United States, to be their greatest national threat. Russia and China surely appreciate the propaganda assist. Does Mark Cuban also see the world that way? That is a question to ask yourself next time he endorses a candidate, since he owns the American distributor of
Operation Napoleon.

So basically, the CIA shoots the stuffing out Iceland trying capture Kristin and Rush. However, it is important to keep in mind they get help from Einar, a schlubby soccer fan who lives alone on the glacier. Granted, it all looks slickly professional, but the anti-American plot and uninspired action sequences are mediocre at best.

It is hard to even remember what Vivian Olafdottir looks like portraying Kristin. Jack Fox plays Rush with a bit of raffish flamboyance that is much appreciated. On the other hand, Olafur Darri Olafsson’s shtickiness as Einar is rather unfortunate. Of course, Iain Glen hisses and schemes like he is back on
Game of Thrones.

Operation Napoleon
is disappointing in just about every way. The best thing about it is the title, but sadly, the hard-target Macguffin is not a fine bottle of Napoleon brandy. This is more of a Thunderbird vintage. Not recommended, Operation Napoleon opens Friday (8/11) in LA at the Laemmle Glendale.