Red Notice Movie Review
Red Notice is an action comedy film written, directed, and produced by Rawson Marshall Thurber. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.
Two famous international art thieves, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) and Sarah Black “The Bishop” (Gal Gadot) are looking to steal three bejeweled eggs as an Egyptian billionaire is willing to pay a massive sum for them as a gift to his daughter’s birthday. While attempting to prevent Booth from stealing the first egg, FBI agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is instead under suspicion and is locked in prison with Booth. The first egg was seized by Black instead. Both Booth and Hartley bonds in prison and are poached by Black to join forces as Booth knows the location of the third egg. However, both decline her offer and manage to escape prison together.
Both Booth and Hartley attempt to steal the second egg from a notorious Valencian gangster, Satto Voce. Hartley agree to assist Booth so that he can capture Black who framed him for stealing the first egg. However, after executing a well-thought-out plan, they still fail as Black has already partnered with Satto Voce and is actually setting a trap for Booth. Black tortures Hartley to get Booth to reveal the location of the third egg and leaves for Egypt. By a stroke of luck, Hartley and Booth manage to free themselves and Booth reveal that he lied to Black about the location of the third egg.
Booth and Hartley then head to Argentina, specifically to the coordinates left in Booth’s dad’s watch. They realize it was once Hitler’s bunker and found the third egg. Soon after, it is revealed that Black has been following them both all along and the Interpol has been tailing Black. All three of them, Booth, Hartley, and Black manage to escape after an intense chase and Hartley reveals that he has been working with Black all along and they are both “The Bishop”.
The Egyptian billionaire is arrested by the Interpol and Booth tipped the Interpol on Hartley and Black’s whereabouts and Cayman Islands account. Booth proposes a truce with “The Bishops” and they agree to work together in the future. Booth, Hartley and Black are now labelled as red notice criminals by the Interpol.
This was supposedly Netflix’s most expensive film, and honestly, I may have had quite high expectations going in.
Let’s start with the great things about the movie. The movie is packed with great action scenes (without lazy computerized graphic effects), maintains the audiences’ focus using a simple yet effective storyline and manages to include multiple moments of humour to keep the audience entertained. At times it feels like Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds are just playing themselves and the chemistry between the duo alone could make great comedic scenes. Ryan Reynolds delivers funny one-liners and his comedic timing is perfect. Meanwhile, The Rock plays the usual serious guy who due to the nature of comedy, seems to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ed Sheeran also makes a cameo, singing “Perfect” in an Egyptian wedding before he adorably swings his guitar around when the Interpol arrived.
There are also areas that I wished were a little different when it comes to the movie. One of them is Gal Gadot’s character. I understand that the writer and director wanted to keep the plot simple and easily digestible, instead of going through a contrived plot route. However, it seems like Gal Gadot’s character lacked a lot of depth in this process. We see her maintaining the same smug know-it-all facial expression throughout the film and never really know much about her character at all. At least Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds both had an emotional moment discussing their childhoods. Gal Gadot’s character, on the other hand, falls flat.
Then there is the delivery of the “twist”. I’m a sucker for great plot twists. In this film, I did see a twist coming, though the movie’s twist was not what I actually had in mind. I initially thought Dwayne’s character is another art thief who is working by himself. After all, why go after the third egg in Argentina when he supposedly wants to catch Gal Gadot who is heading to Egypt? But the twist turns out to be that Dwayne and Gal Gadot were working together instead. I would normally be jumping out of my seat at a plot twist, but this one fell short and it did not feel satisfying. Perhaps the typical adventure plots ala Indiana Jones with the plot twists have been used too often that this felt a bit cookie-cutter. Nevertheless, the movie could definitely use some kind of a plot twist. Without it, it might not have been as enjoyable to some.
PS: Also, just an appreciation that the movie displayed the definition of Red Notice in the beginning of the film. Helps so much in understanding the context at the end of the film.
A part of me is tiny bit disappointed but a part of me had fun watching the film.
Streaming on Netflix