Red Notice (2021) – Rawson Marshall Thurber

Despite being weighed down in tons of green screen work, Red Notice, actually serves as a solid piece of popcorn entertainment. There’s a story about three golden eggs originally belonging to Cleopatra, but most of it is trappings for action beats, and for Gal Gadot to look absolutely stunning, and bring her acting chops into play against Ryan Reynolds, and Dwayne Johnson who both feel like they are playing stylized versions of themselves.

That’s not meant to be insulting, I like both Reynolds and Johnson, but they seem more intent on bringing their larger than like personalities to the screen instead of delivering nuanced performances.

In a story that lets you know you can’t trust anyone, we follow Booth (Reynolds), Hartley (Johnson) and the Bishop (Gadot) on a globe-trotting adventure. Booth and the Bishop are meant to be two of the world’s greatest art thieves, ever, and seem to be in constant competition with each other. Hartley on the other hand appears to be a cop who is forced to buddy up with Booth in search of the third egg before Bishop can claim it.

Reynolds gets to be as funny and likable as you would expect, and putting him opposite an equally grand personality like Johnson is a very smart move because the film needs to balance on the pair of them as Gadot weaves around them constantly throwing a wrench in their plans.

There is some glaring green screen work, but the chemistry of the main cast does a lot to outweigh that, and while it can boot you out of the film because it just doesn’t feel real, watching the three leads play makes up for it, at least partially.

This feels to A+ action films what Chuck Norris’ Firewalker was to Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a b-movie, and while it’s fun and perfectly enjoyable, there’s nothing truly exceptional about it. There are a few fun curves thrown the audience’s way and all three are very easy to watch but it also feels like the very definition of disposable entertainment.

By the time the credits run you’ve already forgotten it and trying to remember if you have to make dinner now or walk the dog.

It’s a perfectly plausible way to pass a rainy afternoon, as mentioned the three leads are all great, but it doesn’t do anything to lever itself into the extraordinary. It’s a run of the mill action flick that just happens to have some really good buddy casting and too much green screen.

That being said it was successful enough to warrant the pitch and greenlight on two sequels to be shot back to back. As long as the three leads come back I’ll at least be checking it out.

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