REVIEW: Despite star power, Netflix’s ‘Red Notice’ is a dud

Film is an interesting medium. Movies can be both an amazing piece of art and a product to make profit.

Sometimes, though, a movie feels too much like it’s just a product, and that’s how “Red Notice” comes across.

In this new Netflix movie, Dwayne Johnson stars as John Hartley, an FBI agent who’s working with Interpol to arrest one of the best art thieves in the world, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). Nolan’s latest target to steal is a rare Egyptian artifact, as only three of its kind exist in the world.

After a chase, both Nolan and John get set up by another art thief, who goes by The Bishop (Gal Gadot). Both are sent to prison, as John has been framed as an accomplice, and now must work together to take down Bishop and, potentially, get the Egyptian artifact in the process.

“Red Notice” might be the most lifeless, factory-line produced action comedy since 2010’s “Cop Out.” Every part of the movie feels so generic and formulaic, as if it was calculated in a board room.

While the heists and escapes the characters have to make in the movie are daring and dangerous, the film plays everything so damn safe. That, combined with the film having a PG-13 rating, make “Red Notice” a movie with zero edge.

The film is poorly paced, too. The middle of the movie seems to go on and on, making it a drag on the audiences. Then in the third act, it seems like the movie is approaching an ending, and then it just keeps going.

It doesn’t help that there’s a twist in the third act that’s downright dumb and only works because of a handful of coincidences. The reveal isn’t all that surprising either.

RedNoticeBlog
Courtesy Netflix.

It’s also noticeable that Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds are basically just playing themselves in the movie, which has pretty much run its course. Johnson has a lot of screen presence, and has been entertaining in movies like “San Andreas” and the “Furious” franchise.

However, movies like this and “Skyscraper” show there’s a limit to his ability to carry a film.

Reynolds, meanwhile, has basically been the same character in “Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “Free Guy” and again here in “Red Notice.” He’s a wise-cracking caricature¬† who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, but can if he needs to.

With the right material, both Johnson and Reynolds can really excel with these types of characters. But when that’s not the case, their performances feel played out.

There’s not much good to say when it comes to Gadot. She shows up every now and then in the film as a femme fatale, reminiscent of Catwoman. However, Gadot seems miscast in the role, never really convincing as the antagonistic piece of the puzzle.

“Red Notice” has a few action set pieces that are alright. An opening chase scene, for example, has some good moments. None of them are enough to keep one’s attention fully, though. It’s also noticeable that a movie with thieves offers no complex heist scenes.

“Red Notice” is a weak entry in the “Netflix” library. It earns a little credit for being mildly amusing at times thanks to its cast trying their best to add some entertainment value. Those efforts mostly fall short, though. 1.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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