Amidst the growing conversations around AI-written scripts, there are films like Operation Napoleon that stand as stark, glum specimens of the limitations of human creativity. There’s no beating around the bush when a riveting premise is wasted on a narrative that is so evidently myopic that it couldn’t shoot straight even if the target were an inch away. If your undemanding love for movies that dovetail a central quest and an extensive chase has helped you make it to the end of Operation Napoleon and you want some of your questions answered, you’re at the right place. With random names of people and places generously sprinkled over the bland dialogue to distract you from just how insipid it really is, chances are, all you’re left with are questions. The first being: what was even the point of this?
What Happens In The Film?
An old man having a jolly time playing in his yard with his grandkids and dropping it all to answer an important call? There’s no way William Carr is good news. But just how big of a shark is he? From the looks of it, he’s not one to be trifled with. What I’d conclude from the call between Elias and his sister Kristin is that he’s always up for an adventure. But I bet even Elias and his group of fellow explorers didn’t exactly expect to come across a Nazi plane peeking through the snow. Severely downplaying the risks associated with coming across something the ruthless CIA official William Carr has been on the lookout for, Elias shares the video footage with Kristin. It takes only a few minutes for the scene to turn bloody with the menacing arrival of Carr’s associate, the pencil-wielding Julie. Now, other than getting himself into the deadly situation of being chased by Julie while he tries to survive in the freezing cold, Elias has also made Kristin the target of a vicious assassin, Simon. Showcasing spectacular survival instincts that would make you wonder if they have secret criminal pasts, the siblings prove to be quite elusive.
What Is William Carr Looking For?
Luck might not have been on Kristin’s side so far, but having Steve take on the role of her constant companion, no matter how dangerous the situation got, was something she couldn’t do without. It’s through Steve, the nerdy professor who still keeps a flame alight for the one that got away, that Kristin gets sucked into the enigmatic world of Operation Napoleon. William Carr can’t just show up in Iceland and get himself a permit to scour the area where the WWII Nazi plane crashed. In fact, as Steve and Kristin’s research unearths, there have been four separate occasions where the area along with the plane have been thoroughly searched on the pretense of researching the effects of global warming on the glaciers.
Despite being American-led, the research teams couldn’t have gone through with it without the help of Icelandic folks, one of whom, Leo Stiller, might still be alive. It’s not a total dead end when they find out Stiller is dead. It’s Stiller’s eccentric widow who leads Steve and Kristin down the rabbit hole of Operation Napoleon. A Nazi plane with American military officials crashing into an Icelandic glacier is an overwhelming mystery in itself. And with the addition of the secret the plane was carrying, the pursuit of which William has inherited from his father, the circumstances are far more intimidating than Kristin could’ve imagined. There is one consequential piece of information that William is aware of. When the plane crashed, a certain Colonel Brand survived the impact. The signs of someone making it out of the crash alive were later stumbled upon by Stiller, his wife, and the friends they formed the exploration team with. The fact that it’s entirely possible that Brand might’ve carried the enigmatic object that held the mystery of Operation Napoleon is now known to both parties. With Elias being subjected to unimaginable torture just for the wicked kick Julie is getting out of it, it’s paramount for Kristin to locate Operation Napoleon and rescue her brother.
How Do Kristin And Elias Make It Out Alive?
Deliberate or not, Operation Napoleon affixes one strikingly admirable quality to the people on the side of the protagonist. The daunting theme of self-sacrifice to serve a greater purpose or help out someone in a dire situation is recurrent throughout Kristin’s harrowing journey. Steve didn’t have to get himself involved in a situation where his life would be at risk. And the fact that they’re rekindling the spark that was lost, although not quite organically, considering the high-tension chase involving a skilled assassin, is a testament to the chemistry that Kristin has tried to ignore to protect her heart.
Following a shootout that gravely injures Kristin, the film even makes space for an uncomfortable reunion with her estranged father and suggests a possible reconciliation between the two. While I have to admit that both the romantic and familial angles were bereft of any semblance of authenticity that would spark any emotional response other than audible groans, there were characters whose endearing selflessness did shine through. The first is Stiller’s old widow, who valiantly embraces Kristin’s ominous arrival as an opportunity for her to turn the page on something that’s been haunting her ever since her husband’s passing. Marking her departure from life with the kind of bravery that would make a lot of big shots tremble, she faces William Carr’s goons with a shotgun that is symbolic of her determination not to die a quiet death. It’s through her that Kristin and Steve even get to know Einar, the farmer’s son, who’d likely not shut his door to the faces of people in need of help.
Now, there’s an overwhelming dilemma that Einar has endured ever since his father’s mysterious death. On the one hand, he’d like nothing better than to stick the knife into William Carr and exact revenge for what his family and their resolute obsession with recovering Operation Napoleon have done to his father. On the other hand, his hands are tied by the promise he made to his dying father about never getting himself involved in anything that bears any connection to the cursed operation. Yet he’s not one to turn his back on people in need. So not only does Kristin get first aid, without which her chances would be slim, but she also gets to know of a cave where Colonel Brand might’ve sought refuge when he walked out of the crashed plane. But even Einar has his limits. He’s hopelessly aware that it’s a long shot that Kristin would recover Operation Napoleon’s tactile form, trade them for her and Elias’ freedom, and make it out alive. Yet the promise he made to his dead father holds him back from escorting Kristin on her deadly mission. Elias is the only family Kristin’s left with. No matter the price, there’s no way that Kristin would ditch her pursuit. When she does acquire the suitcase from the plane and uses it in her negotiation, Elias is freed. Unfortunately, Steve is not quite the knight in shining armor he believes himself to be. When his attempt at saving the woman he loves royally backfires and he’s on the brink of losing his own life, it’s Einar who saves the day. It turns out that the softie has realized that his father wouldn’t have wanted him to not lend a helping hand to people in need.
Without Einar’s unyielding assistance and shockingly accurate aim with a rifle, Kristin and Steve would’ve added to the list of victims unfortunate enough to be thorns in William Carr’s steadfast path to uncovering Operation Napoleon. And now that Carr’s been eliminated and the world remains happily unaware of the existence of Operation Napoleon, Kristin, Steve, and Einar finally have the headspace to plunge into the mystery and uncover the grim secrets it holds.
So, what is Operation Napoleon? Let’s backtrack a little. While most believed that Operation Napoleon was some sort of chemical or biological weapon concocted by the Nazis, the leader of Leo Stiller’s group of explorers was of the opinion that it was Walchensee gold, the treasure that the Nazis stole from the Jews. What Kristin found in the suitcase was certainly not gold, but upon further study, Steve came across what seemed to be a map of Poland, indicating the secret location of the Walbrzych train. Hinting at a possible sequel, Operation Napoleon‘s ending ignites a fire in the curious trio to have them fly to Poland and hopefully locate the train that, according to legend, holds treasures of unimaginable value. In exchange for the location of the Walbrzych train, the Nazis tried to secure Hitler and his family’s safe passage at the end of WWII. The only thing that had stopped the deal from coming to fruition was the plane crash and the subsequent loss of the Operation Napoleon documents.
What the trio doesn’t know is that they won’t be alone in their pursuit of the treasure train. It turns out that Simon, William’s henchman and the assassin who’s been keeping an eye on Kristin and her friends, hasn’t relented even though his boss is dead. Even if he is in the dark about the mysteries surrounding Operation Napoleon, he’s seen enough to know that it must be of great value if the Carrs have been after it for generations. Simon’s involvement indicates a grave threat that would make Kristin, Steve, and Einar’s quest for the treasure train a terrifying expedition.