RED NOTICE Review; "A Cookie-Cutter Action Flick That Makes Your Netflix Subscription Feel Criminal"

RED NOTICE Review; "A Cookie-Cutter Action Flick That Makes Your Netflix Subscription Feel Criminal"

Red Notice arrives on Netflix tomorrow, but the star-studded action movie unfortunately fails to live up to its promise. Find our verdict on the streaming service's latest blockbuster after the jump...

On the surface, Red Notice is a movie that could have quite easily been one of 2021’s best blockbusters. A-Listers Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot take on starring roles, while the trailers have sold it as part-crime caper, part-pulse-pounding action-adventure. However, if there’s ever proof that all that glitters is not gold, it’s Netflix’s most expensive production to date which, quite frankly, is not money well spent. Rawson Marshall Thurber, the filmmaker behind the likes of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Central Intelligence, and Skyscraper, certainly has the right action and comedy credentials to deliver a movie worthy of its cast, but you’ll find nothing but disappointment in this muddled, underwhelming crime caper. 

When the FBI's top profiler (Johnson) and a rival criminal (Reynolds) are forced to work together after being outsmarted by a master thief (Gadot), a prison break, bullfight, and Indiana Jones-style finale all follow in a movie that can’t decide what it is. Thurber just doesn’t commit to any one idea or tone, meaning Red Notice veers from crime thriller to comedy to a far-fetched actioner about stolen Nazi treasure without any of those elements ever really working. There’s fun to be had at times, and a few gags that land well. For the most part, though, it’s a relatively unfunny comedy and a middle of the road action romp without any particularly memorable set pieces (most of which are hampered by middle of the road visual effects). 

Red Notice is a movie it’s hard to not be perplexed at by times; that’s not to say the plot is hard to follow as there’s nothing here that really adds anything new to the heist genre (one last-minute twist is definitely unexpected…but mostly because it’s so dumb). What will really leave you scratching your heads, though, is that two of the movie’s leads are supposed to be crooks, but whenever they shoot at anyone, they always miss. God forbid we should dislike them - even as one of them escapes from a Russian gulag - and it’s at these points it really stretches credulity. These are pretty much the nicest criminals you’ll find, and it’s almost as if the movie is terrified of making these actors anything other than likeable, loveable rogues, which also adds to the already generic feel and robs Red Notice of having any sort of edge beyond the obligatory PG-13 F-Bomb.
 


Johnson is as reliable as ever, but this certainly isn’t a role that stretches his acting chops in any particularly new or exciting ways. He’s a movie star and a damn good one, but there’s really nothing about John Hartley we haven’t seen from him before. Reynolds is very much going through the motions, and we’re surprised they didn’t just name Nolan Booth "Ryan Reynolds" because he's just playing the same old smartass character here. Dare we say it, but the actor’s schtick is beginning to wear thin, and it feels like he needs to tackle a completely different type of role in Hollywood before that becomes a turn off for moviegoers. Gadot is fine, but arguably not a strong enough performer to effectively portray the femme fatale Red Notice requires. It’s certainly refreshing to see her step away from the inherent goodness of Wonder Woman, though, and we’d love to see the actress continue to try new things with roles like this. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast doesn’t bring much to the table, with Chris Diamantopoulos and Ritu Arya failing to match the Hollywood heavy-hitters they’re surrounded by. 

It’s worth noting that there Red Notice does have its moments, and while it’s a mess of a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be, we’re sure some of you will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy this big, dumb blockbuster for what it is (especially when you can watch it at home for the cost of your monthly Netflix subscription). There’s no denying that Johnson and Reynolds have a lot of chemistry, and the movie does a halfway decent job of hitting those familiar beats at times. A sequel is teased shortly before the credits roll, but the prospect of reuniting with these characters is not an enticing one. Netflix could have had a franchise on its hands here to rival anything you see on the big screen, but Extraction this ain’t; like the phoned in Adam Sandler comedies that drew an ungodly number of new subscribers to the streamer, Red Notice will probably do the same, but it’s movies like this one that makes it hard to want to stick around. 

Turn off your brain, and you might have at least some fun with Red Notice. However, this brawny, bloated blockbuster is too short on new ideas to leave a lasting impression and wastes its A-List cast for a cookie-cutter action flick that makes your Netflix subscription feel criminal.
 

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