“Red Notice” has gained notoriety for being Netflix’s most expensive movie to date. It is quite an enjoyable film, and fans of action movies will likely appreciate it. Nevertheless as far as action films go, it isn’t terribly original or innovative.
The movie follows art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) and agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson). Nolan is after Cleopatra’s golden eggs, but after he gets caught and agent Hartley gets framed, they both get sent to prison. The unlikely pair then must team up to find the remaining golden eggs and catch the criminal Bishop (Gal Gadot).
I will say, the twist at the end did surprise me. But other than that, the movie is just some fight scenes and a few impressive stunts, interspersed with bickering between Booth and Hartley. The film is saved from being an otherwise unimpressive action movie by the stellar cast, which admittedly has a lot of chemistry together (which makes watching them considerably more fun).
The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, or try to be anything other than it is, which is refreshing. So while it is a bit cliche and it is not going to blow anyone away, it is an enjoyable and entertaining movie to pass the time.
“Red Notice” also has some funny moments, like when Booth announces to the entire precinct Hartley is “not a cop” or “nyet politsiya” just a “profiler.” These moments can sometimes feel a bit forced though, like with the previously mentioned example. The scene where they escape the prison felt a bit far-fetched, although it’s a piece of fiction so I am willing to suspend my disbelief. But, it did all seem a bit too easy. The escape from prison and the heists happened way too quickly, and everything was executed and resolved a little too fast. The eggs were supposed to be extremely difficult to acquire, and the heists were supposed to be both complicated and dangerous. Or at least that’s what Booth keeps assuring Hartley and the audience. But, it is hard to be convinced or impressed by the heists when they all resolve so quickly and seamlessly. The anti-hero, the Bishop, is very charismatic and oftentimes I found myself rooting for her.
The plot itself is a bit derivative (the whole trying to find Nazi stolen treasures has been done before, and “Ocean’s 11” did the ‘impossible heist’ thing so much better). The unoriginal plot isn’t entirely based on other movies, but definitely enough to notice and prompt such comparisons.
I think one thing that bothered me about the movie was that the stakes didn’t feel big or important enough. The motivation was lacking a bit for me. After they left the prison, they could have forgotten the whole thing with the eggs. Booth clearly didn’t need the money and he even told Hartley that. Hartley, for his part, could have cleared his name through other means, or gotten to the Bishop some other way. I don’t want to give anything away because the ending does better explain Hartley’s motivation, but still, my point stands. The only time when I actually felt scared for the characters was when they were fleeing the prison and had to avoid falling to their deaths as they made their way through a ledge barely large enough to fit their feet. I think the movie is missing a bit of that vital thrilling element when you are watching an action movie and you genuinely feel scared for the characters as they attempt a particularly daring stunt, or are about to go into a dangerous situation.
Overall, it’s a nice action movie. I don’t want to pick it apart too much because as far as action movies go I have seen a lot worse. “Red Notice” is watchable and fun, even if it is not particularly groundbreaking, or witty.
“Red Notice” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Alice Braga