REVIEW: Red Notice (Netflix)

Red Notice

Bromancing the Rock. Jungle Snooze. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Dull.

Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot. Should be a winning combination, but Netflix’s latest somehow manages to make the trio unfunny, uncharming, and even a bit dull.

The streaming service’s second heist-based blockbuster in recent weeks,1 Red Notice is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who previously worked with the actor formerly known as The Rock on both buddy comedy Central Intelligence and actioner Skyscraper. In the interim, he seems to have forgotten how to direct both buddy comedy and action.

Here Johnson plays John Hartley, a beefy FBI profiler whose most notable characteristic is a plush leather jacket. Reynolds is Nolan Booth, a snarky art thief whose most notable characteristic is that he shares a first name with the actor who voices Nathan Drake in the Uncharted franchise. Gal Gadot plays another art thief known as The Bishop, who entangles Hartley and Booth in her plan to steal three jewelled Egyptian eggs.

With it’s $200 million budget, Red Notice is the most expensive movie Netflix have made to date, but there’s no spectacle to justify the price tag. A plethora of exotic locations – Rome! Bali! London!2 – provide a polished backdrop to unremarkable action that only succeeds in evoking better, more memorable films.

There’s a prison break that’ll make you wish you were either watching Dwayne Johnson doing the same in Fast 8 or Ryan Reynolds doing the same thing in Deadpool 2. A sequence set at Museo Nazionale di¬†Castel Sant’Angelo made me nostalgic for Angels & Demons of all things.

Johnson scowls and Reynolds banters, but the pair have no comedic chemistry and Thurber’s script telegraphs every gag. Stained glass window? They’re gonna jump through it. Market stall? Reynolds is gonna bounce off, Johnson is gonna smash through. A tourist with a moped… You get the picture.

Gadot is on sexy, flirty autopilot, but there’s no frisson between her and either leading man. Unlike them, she doesn’t even get the bare-level psychological depth of “low-grade daddy issues”

Red Notice is less a caper than a slog. I laughed once and that was at throwaway gag about Jurassic Park. One laugh. Two hours of my time. $200 million of Netflix’s money.

My recommendation? Wait for the Uncharted adaptation that’s due out next year. Sure, you’ll have to pay for a cinema ticket, but at least it’ll get you out of the house and away from Netflix’s soulless algorithm for a bit.

Oh, wait, they’ve just released Passing? Damn, back to the algorithm I go…

Red Notice is now available to watch on Netflix

  1. And you know things have gone badly when you’re making a Zack Snyder movie look breezy.
  2. With that same familiar establishing shot, flying over Tower Bridge towards The Shard.

Author: robertmwallis

Graduate of Royal Holloway and the London Film School. Founder of Of All The Film Sites; formerly Of All The Film Blogs. Formerly Film & TV Editor of The Metropolist and Official Sidekick at A Place to Hang Your Cape. Co-host of The Movie RobCast podcast (formerly Electric Shadows) and member of the Online Film Critics Society.

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