If someone said Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot were starring in a globetrotting heist comedy…you would probably be intrigued. It’s a film idea that has blockbuster written all over it. You’d have to work really hard for this film to be bad. Unfortunately, Netflix loves a challenge.
The plot for Red Notice is a shallow as its characters – FBI agent Johnson Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is tracking a master thief known as Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). Booth is after 1 of 3 an ancient Egyptian eggs. Whoever possesses all 3 can sell them to an Egyptian billionaire for $300 million.
During Booth’s arrest, both Booth and Hartley are set up by another master thief known as The Bishop (Gal Gadot). The unlikely pairing of Hartley and Booth must work together to stop The Bishop from collecting all 3 eggs.
Red Notice’s plot is similar to other action adventure comedies but it’s missing two very key things 1) interesting villain(s) 2) any charismatic characters that make you care about what’s happening on screen.
The movie reminds me of the opening 20 minutes to a Mission Impossible film (the mission that sets up the MISSION) that someone decided should be stretched to two hours. There isn’t enough character building, world building, or investment in anything other than witty banter for this to work.
There are so many familiar scenes in Red Notice. Hartley and Bishop have a meet up on the dance floor at a “Eyes Wide Shut” looking party, Booth parkours his way out of trouble (see: Casino Royale), and of course the obligatory prison break sequence. This should be a fun movie but none of it works. The story is uninteresting and the unearned ending has more twist than Chubby Checker on American Bandstand.
The most frustrating thing about this star fueled film is that it should work. There’s no reason this movie should be bad. It feels like someone is trying to force people to like this movie. That’s evident from the ridiculous celebrity cameo at the end. It doesn’t fit the film at all. It’s as if someone said, “People like funny celebrity cameos so let’s do it.” So they did it with zero thought if it would actually work. That’s Red Notice in a nutshell.