Red Notice: Film Review


You would be forgiven for thinking that a big-budget blockbuster featuring not one but three A-list action stars would be any good – I certainly went in with high expectations for Red Notice and came away thoroughly disappointed.

The action begins in Rome, where John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), an FBI profiler, is helping Interpol’s Inspector Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya) and her team protect a priceless gold egg that once belonged to Cleopatra. But it turns out they’re too late as art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) has already stolen the egg and replaced it with a fake! That sparks the beginning of a cat-and-mouse chase, which becomes even more complicated when rival art thief The Bishop (Gal Gadot) gets involved, as she wants the egg to complete the set of three.

Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has already worked with Johnson twice, has assembled such a high calibre action star cast for his heist comedy. Considering all three actors are already proven to be capable of leading their own action blockbusters, you would expect them being brought together for one film would make it three times more fun and awesome. But you would be wrong – they don’t really seem to excel in each other’s company. Perhaps it’s a case of too many cooks? I like them in their individual movies but working together here, I felt like they cancelled each other out and were acting at each other rather than with; it hardly ever gelled or clicked.

Reynolds plays the same part he always does and his trademark motor-mouth wise-cracking shtick has mixed results. It’s not always funny, but he still brings the most comedy value to the film and you can tell that he worked hard to come up with alternate gags on the spot. He is the funniest thing in the film, but that’s probably because Thurber – who also wrote the screenplay – relies on his witty one-liners, banter and meta references and we don’t get many other comedic moments elsewhere.

Johnson comes across as much more serious and bland in comparison to the kooky Reynolds, even though I usually find him pretty funny in his other films. His character also has to be rather vague which doesn’t help with the blandness issue and Hartley makes choices that initially don’t make any sense. It was refreshing to see Gadot as a playful character – a sexy femme fatale type who is cheeky, light-hearted and a tease. She looked gorgeous and put her action skills to good use.

The plot features many twists and turns and double-crossing that probably wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny so I’d recommend leaving your brain at the door and letting the ridiculousness of it all wash over you. The film is nowhere near as funny as I’d expected it to be, most of the action scenes were rote and unexciting, the CGI seemed quite budget at times, and the whole thing felt formulaic, generic and forgettable.

This makes it sound like I hated Red Notice so I must concede that it’s enjoyable enough, had some good moments and a handful of laugh-out-loud opportunities – but I just expected it to be much better given the all-star cast involved.

Streaming on Netflix from Friday 12th November

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.