Red Notice Review: Ryan Reynolds' brand of humour works like 'gentlemanly' charm in formulaic heist spectacle
Red Notice Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot
Red Notice Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Red Notice Stars: 3/5
Red Notice; Netflix's "most-costly" gamble with box office cha-ching guaranteed stars like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot leading the way for a beyond predictable yet equally entertaining heist extravaganza. On the bright side, it's Ryan Reynolds who has his cake and eats it too, thanks to his "slice of life" screen presence which meticulously reels you in with belly-aching laughter.
If I had to summarise Red Notice in a nutshell, FBI's top profiler John Hartley (Johnson), with major guns of steel, is forced to team up with the world's most wanted art thief, Nolan Booth (Reynolds), with a penchant for grand escapes, to take down the greatest conman the world has never seen, The Bishop (Gal Gadot). As seen in director Rawson Marshall Thurber's previous outing, Central Intelligence, Red Notice is also filled to the brim with the mega-bromance moments between Dwayne and Ryan and it's when they're bickering that the action flick shines the brightest. And Gal, in particular, packs a mean Wonder Woman-esque punch as the actual mastermind amid the trio, taking over the action sequences with elegant panache. Rawson masterfully takes full advantage of this!
Unlike Salman Khan, Johnson and Reynolds are well aware of what works for them; glorified versions of basically themselves. However, in Ryan's case, his unrivalled comedy chops steal nearly every scene he's in. You're genuinely left laughing out loud at some whacky sequences, in particular, one about The Rock's obvious lack of hair. In Dwayne's case, while at certain points, it seemed like he had a bit of a rough cut, starting the ignition, trying to match up to the Ryan Reynolds scale of wit, eventually, Johnson gets his groove back while his chemistry with Gal, as seen in the trailers, is too hot to handle. Meticulously impressive is Ritu Arya as Inspector Urvashi Das, who is tasked to catch all three of the main players.
Alas, Red Notice's formulaic storyline is what ultimately brings down Red Notice, because it ain't no Money Heist or Ocean's Eleven, but tries really hard to add considerable matter with art jargon and daddy issues. None of the schemes used to steal or escape is awe-inspiring. At the end of the day, we're watching Red Notice for the star power and the 'tired' interlacing attempt of a "good story" dampens the entertaining momentum. Every twist (especially the biggest one of them all!) revealed can be "smelt" (all the pun intended!) from a mile away but saving the day is basically its cast, whose charm meter is dialled up to a 100. It's almost "a marriage of convenience" to make the most of the trio's popularity combined.
That's not to say that the comedy is lacklustre as the plot because, on the contrary, even the excruciatingly lame jokes (and some really funny ones too!) stick its landing, thanks to its trusted ensemble. What Red Notice excels at is its exquisite action sequences which are as stylised as it's relatable and not too over the top like say, 6 Underground. In particular, the high-speed museum chase sequence which sees Hartley and Booth encounter each other for the first time as well as the epic party showdown between Hartley, Booth and The Bishop are personal favourites because it adds the tangible flavours of satire in its entirety while being impressively sleek in style.
Markus Förderer's cinematography and Michael L. Sale's editing was delicately curated to let each star shine even in the most fast-paced scenes. Also, a win was the exotic locations which matched the movie's aesthetic theme of all things glossy with Andy Nicholson's production design shining throughout the heist moments, especially the object of the robbers' desire (I won't spoil it for you!). Steve Jablonsky's music had the classic Netflix original films touch with its tempest vigour. As for the climatic ending, Red Notice delivers, with conditions applied, depending on what you're expecting from the film. I craved for an action-packed entertainer with three good-looking lead characters and that's what I was gifted in return.
In finality, Red Notice works because it's the Ryan Reynolds show and even when the movie was first announced, it had sequel possibilities already attached to it. After watching Red Notice, I wouldn't mind another go at the flashy trio of superheroes, oh, I mean cop-con(wo)man!