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Movies & TV

04th Nov 2021

Red Notice review: Netflix’s most expensive project is the ultimate “I’ll wait until it’s on Netflix” movie

Rory Cashin

red notice review Netflix

It is trying to be Mission: Impossible meets The Thomas Crown Affair. With emphasis on “trying”…

When the headlines around Netflix’s latest project is that it is their most expensive production to date, you can’t help but sit up and take red notice.

When that project features Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, then you figure it must be something pretty special.

And if you were sitting in the pitch meeting, you might have thought that Red Notice sounded pretty special, too.

Close your eyes and imagine it: The Thomas Crown Affair meets Mission: Impossible. That is quite the hook!

A world class criminal profiler (The Rock) teams up with the world’s second best thief (Ryan Reynolds) in order to take down the newly-crowned world’s best thief (Gal Gadot).

The film has the trio travelling from Rome to Bali to Russia to London to Spain to Argentina – a globe-trotting action-adventure with attractive people in attractive locations, with an easy chemistry applied to both the comedic scenes and the action beats.

It sounds like an easy win with a can’t-miss premise. And, to an extent, it is. Despite the fact that it isn’t actually very good, Red Notice is a very easy film to enjoy.

If anything, this is the ultimate “I won’t see that in cinemas, I’ll wait until it is on Netflix” movie, because… well… it is already on Netflix. Problem solved!

A lot of that comes down to Johnson and Reynolds’ screen-burning charisma and likability, all but picking up exactly where they left off during those short scenes shared together in Hobbs & Shaw.

Gadot has less to do but still manages to successfully bring an old-school femme fatale vibe to a modern day setting.

It is when the movie asks the characters to do anything but interact, that is when things start to wobble dangerously.

Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber – who got his start with writing and directing Dodgeball, before becoming one of The Rock’s go-to guys with the likes of Central Intelligence and Skyscraper – apparently had all of Hollywood in a furious bidding war over this project, but any evidence of what drove producers into a frenzy seems to be AWOL from the final cut.

The plot doesn’t hold up much to scrutiny, something to do with ancient Egyptian artefacts and a worldwide race to steal them all.

It is nonsense set-dressing to use Mission: Impossible-esque montages explaining how difficult it is to break into places and steal things, followed by some Thomas Crown Affair-esque hot cops and hot robbers trying to get their flirt on. But the movie mostly confuses people being attractive with people being sexy.

When they do arrive, the action sequences don’t really amount to much – that $200 million budget never truly materialises, although $60 million of that was reportedly spent securing the central trio alone.

So, you’ve got a film that purports to be a sexy action comedy but isn’t all that sexy, and action that isn’t all that thrilling, and comedy that is mostly realised through sheer force of will of the performers.

There is a scene very early on in this film when the characters are literally – literally! – explaining each other’s personalities to each other, and throughout the entire thing, they’re handing glasses of alcohol to each other.

The alcohol the camera is so lovingly looking at being poured and shared and drank? Aviation Gin. And who owns a large stake of Aviation Gin? Ryan Reynolds.

The scene itself moves along at a clip, attractive people in attractive locations, being charmingly pithy, but from that point on, we never getting beyond the feeling that we’re being sold a product, not a movie.

Red Notice is released in select Irish cinemas on Friday, 5 November before arriving on Netflix on Friday, 12 November.

Clips via Netflix

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