It's easy to see what Netflix was thinking with their new movie, Red Notice: An art theft/action combo always sounds like a promising premise. Make Dwayne Johnson, Gal Godot, and Ryan Reynolds your three main leads, and that should be enough star power to entertain audiences of all ages. It sounds good in theory, but does it work in practice? Let's discuss...
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Marc Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra three bejeweled eggs as a wedding present. One egg is in a museum, one is owned by a private collector, and one is hidden away somewhere. There's a huge reward for the person who collects all three eggs. That's enough to draw the attention of an art thief named Nolan Booth (Reynolds), one named the Bishop (Godot), and a huge hulk of a man named John Hartley who says he's a FBI profiler trying to bring down Booth. There are twists and turns along the way, but what you've basically got is a buddy movie with three attractive people running around for two hours.
- The music for this movie is over-the-top right from the opening credits. It leaves one wondering if it's trying to convince you a huge adventure awaits, or if it might be a parody of those kinds of films. This is an issue all the way until the end.
- We're fans of all three of the leads, but they're mostly phoning it in here. Ryan Reynolds is in full snarky "Ryan Reynolds/Deadpool" mode, so how you feel about that will probably determine your thoughts about this movie. Dwayne Johnson looks literally bigger than ever, and that's about all he brings to the story. Hartley comes across like it's just the actor talking to his friends for two hours. Pretty sure Johnson has more range than this, but he's on auto-pilot for most of the movie. Gal Godot seems to be having fun as a criminal, and the movie could use much more of her.
- This script is paint by numbers. You can see the twists and turns coming from a mile away, except for maybe one. We're not sure the logic holds for it, but there's no reason to go back and watch again to double-check.
- After giving it further consideration, the music is trying to make it feel like Red Notice is an epic adventure, and not some run-of-the-mill film that will be airing during a Dwayne Johnson marathon on TNT in a few years. It has to work too hard to distract you from the fact that not much is actually going on here.
- Mind you, Red Notice is perfectly fine brain candy. If you want to zone out for a while and watch these three look good and crack jokes non-stop, the movie is serviceable. It's just also easy to forget about 10 minutes after you turn off your television. It can distract you from a rainy day, but there's no reason to spend money on a ticket to see it on the big screen.
Netflix clearly wants to make Red Notice into a franchise. It will probably do well overseas and with the fans who will watch Johnson, Godot, and Reynolds in anything. However, your life also won't skip a beat if you miss it. We will give it a C+ and wait to see what everyone does for their next projects.
This group should have been more interesting. (pic via variety.com)
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