RED NOTICE (NETFLIX) (2021)
SYNOPSIS: An Interpol-issued Red Notice is a global alert to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted. But when a daring heist brings together the FBI’s top profiler (Johnson) and two rival criminals (Gadot, Reynolds), there’s no telling what will happen.
At the time of reporting, Red Notice is the costliest original movie ever made by streaming giant Netflix. However, you are not going to see where the money goes to on your small screen as most of the budget had apparently gone to the pockets of Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.
FBI agent/profiler John Hartley (Johnson) is hot on the heels of renowned international art thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds) who is currently after one of Cleopatra’s bejewelled eggs in Rome. As it turned out, it’s not just Booth who is after the eggs but also his main competitor dubbed “The Bishop” (Gadot). The only way to outsmart “The Bishop” is getting Booth to team up with Hartley as the former is keen on getting his hands on the second egg while the latter is desperate to capture “The Bishop”.
Despite the lavish budget and a glossy trailer, the finished product looks liked a budgeted shot-on-soundstages action flick. Directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber who gave you Skyscraper and Central Intelligence, Red Notice continues his penchant for easy laughs, convenience tropes and CGI. Lots and lots of CGI.
Rather than an original, clever cat-and-mouse action thriller, Thurber did a copy-and-paste, borrowing from much better flicks liked True Lies and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s more irritable than wink wink funny for sure. Given that Ryan Reynolds keeps playing the same character all over make things even worse than expected. The wise-cracking smug guy versus the straight, uptight action hero Dwayne Johnson? We have seen that countless times before. Throwing in a sexy Gal Gadot doesn’t spice things much as well.
With the exception of a well-choreographed fight sequence taking place on a museum scaffold, the rest of Red Notice features an awkward amount of CGI enhanced action scenes with questionable CG background and props. The climax is utterly dull despite supposedly a hair-raising car chase in a darkened tunnel. Why? Because it’s likely rendered on a computer. What happened to good old fashion car chases and fist fights? Even more problematic is Spain and South America which look exactly like a soundstage in Atlanta. That bullfight scene in particular is a good example.
Yes, we admit we have been complaining exceedingly long right from the start. You can’t really blame us as the expectation is high given the star-studded cast and a crazy bidding war among major studios. Surprisingly, Red Notice ends up as a “lite” version of a Michael Bay action flick. Less spectacle, dumb story with lots of double-crossing and a stale deadpanned Ryan Reynolds. We wanted so much to like the latest mega blockbuster from Netflix but this one only plays in the background as some sort of distraction. 10 minutes and you probably be scrolling Tik-tok or Instagram on your handphone.
Review by Linus Tee