Red Notice (2021)

Red Notice
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ivan Mbakop
Seen on: 4.1.2022

John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is an FBI profiler, working together with Interpol, specifically Inspector Das (Rity Arya) to finally catch renowned art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). Operating off a tip from the mysterious Bishop (Gal Gadot), herself an art thief, things go sideways for Hartley after he catches Booth: it looks like The Bishop set him up, too – and Hartley ends up not only in the same prison as Booth, but also in the same cell. Despite their antagonistic relationship, Hartley and Booth agree to work together to get The Bishop. But that’s easier said than done.

Red Notice is a heist movie with an Indiana Jones touch and a nice cast – so I really don’t understand why it is so very lukewarm.

The film poster showing Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), The Bishop (Gal Gadot) and Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in evening wear.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that the central three of the film noticed that something was wrong here. The impression I got was this: While Johnson and Gadot shrugged it off, filing it under bad decisions and moving on with a phoned-in performance, Reynolds tried his damnedest to safe the film by dialing up his fast-talking, sarcastic Deadpoolesque persona. And since he got nothing back and the film still didn’t work, he pushed it more and more, until it was way too much.

Now, of course I wasn’t there, so I have no idea whether that’s what happened or not. But that doesn’t change the fact that Johnson and Gadot are wooden, and for two very hot people, their chemistry is strangely absent, and Reynolds is overwrought. The thing is: their performances really aren’t the film’s problem. The major problem is that there are no characters on screen, just rough drafts.

Booth (Ryan Reynolds), Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and The Bishop (Gal Gadot) walking together

The film does have some decent jokes, and I rather enjoyed the opening scene, as well as a couple of the heistier moments. I will absolutely admit that it isn’t boring, even though there are some quite predictable twists and they think they get away with its derivative nature by lampshading it (it partly works). You can spend a halfway decent evening with it.

But ultimately it’s also pretty forgettable, and it could have been more than that.

Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and Booth (Ryan Reynolds) handcuffed together by The Bishop (Gal Gadot).

Summarizing: meh.

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