Rawson Marshall Thurber has had an interesting career as a director. His films aren’t terribly inventive; they often wear their influences on their sleeve and often get by on the fact that he works with charismatic casts.
His latest, Red Notice, a globe-trotting heist action movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, is no different.
The setup this time is that Johnson is the FBI’s top profiler and is on the trail of world-greatest thief Ryan Reynolds. Once he catches up with Reynolds, they are both betrayed by Gal Gadot –the other greatest thief in the world– and are forced to work together to steal a series of ancient Egyptian treasures.
Yes, this movie is ridiculous, but there is so little original going on that it nearly ends up being boring. You’ve seen this movie before; in the first act, Johnson catches Reynolds stealing the first thing. In the second act, they team up against Gadot to liberate the second thing from a Spanish arms dealer (played by Chris Diamantopoulos). Finally, in the third act, they all have to work together in an even more elaborate and ridiculous setting to steal the third thing.
Like I said, the structure is more than a little familiar, and so are the references. Thurber, at times, doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie he wants to make, so he makes three. There are elaborately planned heists, elaborate Indiana Jones references, and while it’s true, there are twists and turns, there are very few you won’t see coming.
In the end, the film is saved by the cast. Gal Gadot is excellent as the antagonistic thief The Bishop, and Dwayne Johnson’s usual combination of “perfect specimen but still somehow relatable” continues to work for him here. Reynolds is his reliable quippy self, and while the film doesn’t go full Deadpool, he does tell someone to look for “the crate labelled McGuffin” at one point, too. Each of them has charisma, and they all work well together; I just wish they were in a better movie.
All that being said, I don’t think that Red Notice is a bad movie. It’s fine. It has some fun moments, and I always enjoy Vancouver Local Ryan Reynolds doing his Ryan Reynolds schtick. The $160 million they spent making it really shows in the elaborate sets and effects (except for the few times when it really doesn’t). It’s not terribly deep, but it is precisely the kind of movie you want on Netflix to watch on a Friday night and I would totally watch another one.
Red Notice will have a limited theatrical run starting on November 5th before premiering on Netflix on November 12th.
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