RED NOTICE Review: An All-Star Cast Can't Save Netflix's Lazy, Derivative Crime Caper

By all accounts, Red Notice is Netflix's most expensive feature to date, which does make sense... because they must have paid Johnson, Reynolds and Gadot a s*hit load of cash to star in this garbage.

When the teaser for Red Notice was released, a joke did the rounds on social media that it didn't look like a real movie. The implication being that Netflix's mega-budget action comedy more closely resembled one of the spoof trailers you see in other films from time to time that send-up a particular genre.

Well, Red Notice is very real... though after sitting through about 20 minutes of this hackneyed nonsense, you may find yourself wishing it wasn't.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around the world's best FBI agent (Dwayne Johnson) tracking down the world's second-best art thief (Ryan Reynolds), who is attempting to steal Cleopatra's eggs (or something), while the world's first-best art thief (Gal Gadot) stays one step ahead of both of them.

It's the type of silly/played-out, but potentially engaging premise that does tend to work well enough for this type of movie, and could have resulted in a bit of light-hearted fun - especially with three bonafide megastars in the lead roles. Unfortunately, writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Skyscraper, Central Intelligence) drops the ball at every turn, and is unable to squeeze so much as an iota of genuine entertainment value out of this set-up.

Red Notice Trailer and Posters Revealed - VitalThrills.com

Johnson has proven to be a charismatic enough leading man in the past, but he has to have decent material to work with. Here, he goes through the motions as a one-dimensional straight man to Reynolds' wise-cracking prick thief (not that he steals... ah, you know what I mean), showing no signs of life whatsoever. Similarly, Reynolds is more than capable of turning on the charm (see the recent Free Guy, for example), but is happy to fall back on his shrill, irritating shtick here, firing off juvenile, witless insults and one-liners, most of which are about as funny as a burning orphanage.

Gadot, who is not exactly known for her range, arguably makes the biggest impact by at least attempting to get the most out of her underwritten role. 

Pretty much every single aspect of Thurber's script is derivative, and while riffing on other movies is hardly a new concept and can be forgivable if it yields positive results, Red Notice is nothing more than a blatant hodgepodge of everything from Indiana Jones, to Mission: Impossible, to The Thomas Crown Affair - the list goes on. If it happens in this movie, chances are it's been done somewhere else first... only better.

This also extends to the action scenes. A listless film can be sparked to life by some exciting set pieces, after all, but it's just more of the same inane, knockabout farce. Everyone is an expert at hand-to-hand combat, but never lands a single impactful strike; they unload with Gatling guns while hitting nothing but wooden crates; fall off buildings and get right back up, etc.  At one point, Johnson's character is gored by a CGI bull and walks it off while calling Reynolds an asshole. No stakes, no drama, no point. You might argue that the violence is toned down because this is supposed to a family-friendly movie, but it doesn't really hold up when Reynolds is making jokes about framing Johnson for having "mouth sex" with a goat in the next scene.

A few double and triple (and quadruple) crosses later, it's probably not much of a spoiler to reveal that our trio of pretty pains in the asses soon decide to join forces, and we are threatened with the prospect of a sequel. Please do everything you can to help avoid that outcome by watching The Harder The Fall on Netflix this weekend instead.

Red Notice is an obnoxious, desperately unfunny bore that wastes a trio of talented leads. Dumb movies can be entertaining, but sometimes they're just flat-out bad.

The Five Star Rating System Deserves One Star

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