Red Notice turns grey

January 23, 2022

Red Notice garnered significant attention due to its roster of impressive actors. However, it has fallen massively short upon release

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Red Notice has turned out to be a disappointing release despite having a very high budget and some heavy hitters on its roster. Written, directed and produced by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson, the movie fails to meet the mark in more ways than one.

It is meant to be an action comedy that could have been pulled off by its charismatic cast. However, it severely lacks personality and it soon becomes obvious that the actors are just playing themselves, rather than full-fledged characters. The lack of effective writing and characterisation makes for an overly processed piece of cinema akin to the brain-numbing modern-day B movies that release straight to Netflix, rather than a proper Hollywood release such as Central Intelligence and Skyscraper, both directed by Thurber.

The movie begins with a bunch of information about some mysterious eggs supposedly owned by Cleopatra at one point. Two of the eggs have already been discovered, leaving a third cloaked in mystery, thus making it the most-coveted item for treasure hunters. John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), an FBI profiler, catches Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in the act of stealing one of the eggs, establishing a relationship between the two for the rest of the movie. Chaos ensues as the two flit around the world, tussling with authorities, fellow thieves and The Bishop, a criminal mastermind played by Gal Gadot. It is meant to be an action packed ‘buddy comedy’ that focuses on the dynamic between the fast talker and the brawn. However, even tried and tested trope fails to save this movie.

At various points, the exhaustion and tension can be observed in the actors’ delivery, particularly for Reynolds, who is known to be funny. His jokes continue to fall flat. Johnson appears to be unmotivated and exhausted. He has played this role several times before and done a better job of it.

Influences from treasure hunting classics such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure are abundantly clear in Red Notice, especially when it comes to the storyline, set design and objectives. However, the direction (or lack thereof) has resulted in a confusing, processed mess that seems far too programmed and bland, so that even likeable actors and stunning scenery cannot help its case. Furthermore, due to the absence of solid characterisation, the actors are pretty much left to their own devices, playing themselves and bouncing off one another, leading to some obviously fatigued moments in the film. At various points, the exhaustion and tension can be observed in the actors’ delivery, particularly for Reynolds. He is known to be funny, but his jokes continue to fall flat. Johnson appears to be unmotivated and exhausted. He has played this role several times before and done a better job of it.

With a whopping budget of $200 million, the movie had a lot of funding, charm and decent actors to work with, yet it has under-delivered. Netflix is notorious for churning out content for the sake of doing just that (excluding flagship movies and shows that garner widespread acclaim). This big budget movie has sadly fallen into that pit as well. There is something to be said about the overly produced and processed content that lacks any kind of humanness to it, however it is unlikely that viewers would expect to put Red Notice in that category. Yet that is all there is to the movie, so feel free to give this one a miss.


The author has a background in art and history



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