Netflix brings the magic of Christmas in the sentimental and sappy Operation Christmas Drop from director Martin Wood. Chasing a promotion, congressional aide Erica Miller (Kat Graham) forgoes family Christmas to travel across the Pacific at her bosses (Virginia Madison) behest. Upon landing at a beachside Air Force base, she clashes with her guide, Captain Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig). The latter knows her assignment is finding reasons to defund the facility.
The pilot’s pet project — Operation: Christmas Drop, a genuine, decades-old tradition where gifts and supplies are parachuted to residents of remote neighboring islands, has lawmakers wondering if his unit has too much excess energy. Despite their initial opposing goals, Erica softens once she experiences Andrew’s adopted home’s customs and communal spirit.
One film genre that I’m never too critical of is a film set during Christmas. Whether it’s The Best Man Holiday, White Christmas, or the classic Die Hard, Christmas movies hold a special place in my heart. Operation Christmas Drop follows the same plot template as numerous Lifetime movies, which is fine as the chemistry between our two leads Kat Graham and Alexander Ludwig.
One of the things I noticed about Kat Graham is her natural beauty is a bit subdued. Instead of coming across as a glamorous model, the film showcases an everyday woman anyone can relate to. I commend the script for giving Graham an arc where’s not ice cold and bitter but just has her own issues she needs to work on. Additionally, the film never paints Graham as a character who needs to fornicate and make things better. Instead, she’s a hard worker with her own issues. All Erica needs to do is listen to what’s really going on around her as opposed to looking at numbers and data.
Fresh from his portrayal as a brawny computer whiz in Bad Boys for Life, Alexander Ludwig hams it up in his role as an All American Air Force officer. The performance doesn’t require much of the actor, but he glides through the film with natural charisma with ease. Kudos to the scriptwriters as well for the ark of our lead characters. They never portray Jantz and Erica as bitter rivals who resort to petty insults to prove their opinion on the current situation.
Outside of the Virginia Madsen character who portrays Erica’s boss, the supporting cast is pretty much on autopilot for the film’s duration. This is fine, as the film is meant to highlight Kat Graham and Alexander Ludwig. As an Air Force veteran myself, I had no idea that Operation: Christmas Drop was a real-life mission until the credits rolled. Afterward, I immediately sent a text to a good friend who is still serving to find out more about the mission and possible ways to offer my assistance.
Operation Christmas Drop won’t win any awards, nor is it destined to become a holiday classic. Omitting any foul language, sexual innuendos, and heartfelt messages. Operation Christmas Drop is an early Christmas film the entire family can enjoy in these current trying times.
Final Grade B