Red Notice

Review by Rich Cline | 2.5/5

Red Notice
dir-scr Rawson Marshall Thurber
prd Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Beau Flynn, Dwayne Johnson
with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop, Vincenzo Amato, Rafael Petardi, Alexander Perkins, Daniel Bernhardt, Jay Romero, Ed Sheeran
release US/UK 12.Nov.21
21/US Netflix 1h58

johnson reynolds gadot

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Red Notice
With flashy, vertiginous cinematography from the start, this globe-hopping action comedy features some crackling banter between Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. But this riot of plot twists and gimmicky fight choreography is so choppily directed that only the over-punchy score tells us what's going on. In other words, the movie is overlong, mindless and absurdly violent, so it does manage to provide some unchallenging escapist fun.
In Rome, FBI profiler John (Johnson) fails to stop most-wanted art thief Nolan (Reynolds) from stealing one of Cleopatra's priceless bejewelled eggs. John and Interpol inspector Urvashi (Arya) track him down in Bali, but so does rival thief The Bishop (Gadot), who snatches the egg herself, setting up John to take the fall. He winds up in a Russian prison with Nolan as a cellmate. So they team up to stop The Bishop from stealing the second egg from psychopathic billionaire Sotto Voce (Diamantopoulos). And now they set out to find the mythical third egg.
A snappy pace and barbed dialog hold the interest, even when the gags repeat themselves and the staggeringly lazy plot follows the usual trajectory. Each big set-piece is exactly what's expected and nothing more, starting with the standard preposterous exposition to set it up before leading into wildly over-egged thrills that never quite feel thrilling. That said, there are several mildly amusing moments along the way, although you know you're in trouble when the funniest scene is a nutty cameo from Ed Sheeran.

The always watchable Reynolds deploys his fast-talking snark, while Johnson plays his short-fused foil; and the brain/brawn contrast also helps make them an entertaining duo. Simplistic back-stories come straight from a cheesy action movie playbook, but they provide the actors with just about enough gristle to bring them to life above Thurber's deadening writing and direction. This means that their partnership feels unsurprising, but they have some fun with it. Things are livened up by Gadot, plus Arya in a thankless role.

Not much about this film is convincing, including the way Johnny and Nolan continually insult each other even though they're clearly having a bromance. And Reynolds' seemingly ad-libbed jokes breaking the fourth wall manage to highlight dopey cliches while creating new ones. But they might have got away with this if Marshall's direction wasn't so clumsily derivative, right to a climactic Indiana Jones chase. Only undemanding fans will enjoy this hyper-twisting romp and return for the sequel that's set up at the end.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 10.Nov.21

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© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall