Red Notice is entertaining action comedy. It’d be hard for a movie featuring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds to be boring,
Still, it’s difficult not to feel a little disappointed knowing this trio could be capable of so much more. This is the potential straight A student settling for Bs simply because it requires less work. It still gets the job done but the payoff could be even greater. Maybe with the sequel?
FBI agent John Hartley (Johnson, Jungle Cruise) is tracking down renowned art thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds, Free Guy). Booth is targeting the legendary three ceremonial eggs Marc Anthony gifted his lover Cleopatra.
Hartley teams with Interpol agent Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya, Umbrella Academy) to eventually bring Booth into custody.
Neither counted on the other top art thief, The Bishop (Gal Gadot, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) to snatch the first egg and frame Hartley for stealing the egg for himself. Imprisoned with Booth, Hartley’s only chance of clearing his name is by teaming up to catch The Bishop and retrieve the eggs.
Johnson plays his standard Dwayne Johnson role when matched up with a hyper talkative funny guy. This has proven to be a major moneymaker for Johnson who exudes plenty of charisma so it’s not a one man show. In this case, swap Kevin Hart for Reynolds.
Reynolds is playing the normal Ryan Reynolds action comedy role. No knock as few can people off his style of breezy sarcasm so effortlessly and amusing. It’s probably just a weird coincidence that Reynolds gets in a dig on Johnson’s former Fast and Furious co-star
Gadot is the one largely playing against type and seems to be having a blast as the bad girl always a step ahead of her rivals. Whether singing or vamping it up as a femme fatale, Gadot is a lot of fun.
Director/screenwriter Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers, Skyscraper) sets up some extravagant action pieces including a perilous escape from a snow covered prison involving a bazooka shootout on a rope bridge, a close quarters fight in an art exhibit, a high speed chase in a tunnel and even a bull fight. No word on if it was a Brahma Bull though.
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In the first action sequence, Booth shows off his parkour skills, which largely stay dormant the rest of the film. It’s an odd decision as the heavy movement based style of elusion fits Booth’s character more than trying to mimic Hartley’s tank-like approach to fighting.
Thurber juggles his three leads well giving them ample spotlights of their own to showcase their skills. Playing to his cast’s strengths shouldn’t be a bad thing yet occasionally it feels like Thurber could have played against expectations more with Johnson and Reynolds.
They’re not exactly challenging themselves with these roles. Gadot’s performance shows there was some potential in doing something different than the norm.
This starts to weigh the film down somewhat — aided no doubt by its excessive two hour run time. There’s not enough meat on this premise to drag it out for two hours. Stripped down to 90 or even 100 minutes and the film would have been far more effective.
Early on, Thurber establishes a ‘who can you trust?’ dynamic allowing for some fun double crosses and teases of larger betrayals. It keeps the plot unpredictable and the payoff very uncertain.
Johnson, Gadot and Reynolds play off each other extremely well and this seems like an obvious blockbuster sequel candidate for Netflix. A second installment could work out some of the earlier kinks and further the adventures of this likable, if somewhat underachieving trio.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix
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