Red Notice





There has to be a better way for Hollywood to make movies work. On paper, Red Notice has three of the highest paid actors in Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds. All of them are good looking people, have relative moments of charm, and have proved they can carry an action adventure. That may be true on paper, but it’s not working for me, and a lot of other people with enough intelligence to smell the bullshit. Red Notice is a global heist, where two competing thieves come across a relentless agent, with the goal to obtain the three golden eggs of Cleopatra. Action sequences ensue, Ryan Reynolds does his usual comedy schtick, and none of the stakes are high. Red Notice is a big red flag.

The plot is not complicated, Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is on the trail of notorious jewel and art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds), who has the skills to steal whatever he likes. The big catch are the golden eggs and right away Hartley with the help of Inspector Das (Ritu Arya) takes Booth down. But before they can celebrate, another notorious thief known as The Bishop (Gal Gadot), takes the egg for herself, and frames agent Hartley in the process. This places Hartley and Booth in a Russian prison together and must do what they can to get out, stop The Bishop from getting the remaining two eggs, and maybe keep the riches for themselves. Pretty standard jet setting heist mixed with action movies, but Red Notice is often lacking in charisma, big action set pieces, and genuine fun.

The problems quite honestly exist in the two male leads- with Gadot often taking a back seat to just showing up at the right time- whereas Reynolds and Johnson are an incredibly tired pair. The screenplay is written by director Rawson Marshall Thurber, but the dialogue from Reynolds is no different from Deadpool, or Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, and even Free Guy. Each line is a quip or dig at Johnson’s masculinity, a reference to pop culture for audiences to say to themselves, “I get that reference”, or his sharp brand of line delivery. It’s exhausting. And for Johnson, something has to give, where the actor constantly settles for the lowest common denominator in his work, which involve global markets, green screen action, and big scale plots. He barely has to work, is allowed to travel to beautiful locations or can do all of his stunts in the comfort of green screen settings.

What makes a movie like Red Notice even worse is what it represents for the state of cinema today. The stakes are so low you can walk over them, where scenes with Johnson and Reynolds being shot at do nothing to raise the blood, and the green screen action is just fake. A scene where Johnson holds Reynolds’ head out of a train is supposed to scare somebody, only it obviously looks like a video game. This is a big box office draw, with a lot of money injected into it, from the costumes, the crews, the cars, and the high price tags just to get the three actors to deliver their standard minimum.

The narrative of Red Notice just repeats itself anyway. One person double crosses the other, they go to Rome, go to Egypt, then while one heist is being run we soon learn that one of the characters is secretly three steps ahead. It’s nearly two hours of that, and while the trio of actors can have charisma, it’s lacking in anything that would be deemed memorable. I had forgotten everything a mere minutes after it ended. Dwayne Johnson needs a change and so does Ryan Reynolds. Gadot comes away unscathed because there’s little for her to do. Either way, all I can say is that you don’t want to bet on red.



Written by: Leo Brady

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