Red Notice is an enjoyable action diversion.
This review of the Netflix film Red Notice does not contain spoilers.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Netflix movie Red Notice is the duo of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ryan Reynolds’s endless attempts to relentlessly knock the one-liners out of the park. It’s a secondary action of the movie that turns off the audience because they are trying too hard. It’s unnatural and forced. It’s something I wasn’t a fan of their shtick in Hobbs & Shaw. However, the “Johnolds” slowly takes time to develop that eventually finds its sweet spot that makes for an amusing, even enjoyable action picture.
Johnson stars as John Hartley, an FBI profiler who loves a good turtle neck and chasing Nolan Booth (Reynolds). Who is he? You guessed it. As most film’s state, he is the world’s greatest thief (I’d love for a movie to settle for an incompetent, but he sure tries hard, thief). After Booth is caught, Hartley is framed by The Bishop (Gal Gadot). She, now hear this, is the world MOST wanted art thief (this feels like one of those negations to see what star’s name goes first or is higher in the opening credits).
Things then go sideways when Hartley’s partner, Interpol Inspector Das (The Umbrella Academy‘s Ritu Arya), suspects Hartley stole one of Cleopatra’s priceless Eggs. She doesn’t know it was The Bishop. Well, neither does Hartley, but don’t overthink it. So, Das arrests him, and the new BFFs must find the treasure, find the Bishop, and clear Hartley’s name. The action is relatively entertaining, and the causes scenes between all four actors seem out of place since Johnson’s Hartley keeps putting Das and her underling in considerable danger.
Red Notice was written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers, and the Quizno’s go in Easy A). This is the third collaboration with Johnson, a welcomed pairing in Central Intelligence, but not so much in Skyscraper. Here, the script is tailored to the male lead’s talents (Gadot’s role is reduced to being evil and looking good doing it). While I noted the humor was forced, the actors and script eventually marry well enough to remind you why Thurber has such a good track record with comedies.
The film’s plot is basically Dirty Rotten Scoundrels goes treasure hunting. It surprisingly works well enough. Every time there is a sorely out-of-place plot hole, they somehow address it, so you forgive and forget (not every time, but enough). By the time you arrive at the movie’s third act comes multiple plots twists that are 110% dependent on how charming you are finding Johnson, Reynolds, and Gadot at the moment.
Their charms won me over as I accepted Red Notice as the harmless, enjoyable diversion it is.
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