Review: Operation Napoleon


In 1945, in the middle of a spring snowstorm, an Icelandic shepherd peers out his barn door. A plane flies overhead in the night sky, headed out over Iceland’s largest glacier. The shepherd makes the sign of the cross.

So begins another adventure related to Nazis and the end of WWII in Europe. On board the plane, which disappeared into history, is something of great value: gold, super-weapons, a deadly biological agent, Nazi secrets? The legends abound.

Director Oskar Thor Axelsson (“I Remember You”) takes us on an edge-of-our-seats ride that never lets up and never reveals its core secret until the very end. Based on a novel by Arnaldur Indridason, the story follows a young, successful corporate lawyer, Kristin (Vivian Olafsdottir – “Cop Secret”), whose brother disappears while exploring the glacier with friends. They had discovered the lost plane, emerging from the melting glacier, and some unexplainable details. However, they are interrupted by the arrival of some American scientists who shortly prove they are anything but scientists. The brother escapes and sends photos to his sister, before disappearing.

This event triggers a search for the sister by American CIA agents, and the race is on to discover what and where Operation Napoleon has ended up.

The writing, by the award-winning author and Marteinn Thorisson (“Silent Witness”), is taught and fleshes out the main characters well for what is basically an action adventure. The actors acquit themselves well, especially Vivian Olafsdottir, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (“The Meg”) as Einar, the heroic Icelandic sheepherder who saves the day, Adesuwa Oni (“The Witcher”) the deceptive CIA agent, and Jack Fox (“Riviera”) the man who figures it all out.

Of special note is Ian Glen (“Game of Thrones”) who plays William Car, the CIA operative in charge of recovering “Operation Napoleon.” Glen has had a long career, often playing ruthless, powerful characters to perfection. Here, he swings easily from loving grandfather to manipulative CIA operative to ruthless killer. As such, he represents the unrelenting forces that have been searching for this Nazi plane and its mysterious cargo since it disappeared in 1945.

Sadly, the heroine and hero of the tale develop remarkably implausible physical skills along the way – highly unlikely in a corporate lawyer and a university professor. Call it the “Indiana Jones” syndrome.

At least they’re not 80 years old.

One last thing: once you know the secret of “Operation Napoleon,” you realize it’s been in front of you all along.

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