Red Notice is the latest star-studded release from Netflix, whose main aim appears to be throwing together the talents of three well-known stars and hoping for a win. However, no matter how much talent and charisma is on offer here, it can’t hide the incredibly lacklustre story.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Skyscraper, Dodgeball), Red Notice follows Interpol agents and FBI Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) as they track down the most wanted art thief in the world, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). They arrive in Rome where they’ve been informed that Booth will attempt to steal a bejewelled egg that belonged to Cleopatra. The egg is one of three believed to have been gifted to Cleopatra by Marcus Anthonius over two thousand years ago as a wedding gift. They were lost for centuries until two were discovered in the 1900s, where they’re now housed by museums and private collectors. However, the whereabouts of the third egg is still unknown.
It turns out that a wealthy Egyptian businessman has offered a large fortune to whoever can bring him all three eggs in time for his daughter Cleopatra’s wedding. As well as Booth, the eggs are also being hunted by The Bishop (Gal Gadot), another more successful international art thief, who plots to foil Booth at every step. She soon succeeds, imprisoning both Booth and Hartley with her schemes in a Russian jail. The unlikely pair are then forced to work together to break out from prison and stop The Bishop from obtaining the eggs, all the while being pursued by Interpol agent Das (Ritu Arya).
With such bankable and charismatic stars and a treasure-hunting plot reminiscent of National Treasure and Indiana Jones, Red Notice could have been great. However, instead, the filmmakers appear to have hedged all of their bets on throwing the three leads together and hoping it works out, without actually providing them with a decent script or fleshed-out characters. Gadot, Johnson and Reynolds do the best they can with what they’ve got to work with, and they do at least make this vaguely watchable with the limited amount of funny quips on offer, but it’s not enough. They’re as engaging and charismatic as they can be, but even they look bored with the lines they’re reeling out. I did laugh at least twice, but in a film with Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson, that isn’t enough. And I will also admit that I didn’t see the ending coming, but that could potentially be because I’d lost interest by then.
The film does at least look good for the most part. The locations, when not green-screened, are beautiful and I was surprisingly fond of the camerawork used in the fight scenes, but the CGI is poor and the green screen backgrounds are very obvious. The fight scene between the three leads was well choreographed and probably the best bit of action in the entire film. It also has a good soundtrack, but this may not have been used as effectively as it could have. None of this is enough to distract from the tiresome storyline and uninspired script.
Despite a lot of promise and with an incredible cast, Red Notice is a very dull and bland take on the heist style adventure film. It’s only due to the three charismatic leads that this is even vaguely watchable.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!