Keepin’ It Reel: Red Notice

Initially, Netflix may have been known for its TV series (and still is), but its investment in movies is undeniable. In 2021, the platform committed to releasing one new feature film per week, bringing together big Hollywood names. But no bet has been as gigantic as “Red Notice,” which features a trio of stars adventuring through the most diverse landscapes around the world. Rumor has it that the final budget for the project was $200 million, the largest ever for the streaming service. So now we ask, was it worth it?  

Red Notice revolves around John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), one of the FBI’s top analysts, responsible for studying profiles of major criminals. His next mission is to stop a daring robbery by the creative thief, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds), whom he has been investigating for years. Another famous thief, introduced as The Bishop (played by Gal Gadot), is supposedly the greatest art thief in the world. 

But Hartley never imagined The Bishop would frame him for a robbery he did not commit. Now, in a race against time to prove his innocence, the protagonist is forced to form an unusual partnership with Booth, who seeks the same target as his rival. This great adventure will take the trio on a journey around the world, on the run from International Police, but to achieve their objectives, they will have to put up with the worst of it all: each other’s company.  

The problem with Red Notice is that it tries to sell itself as a film full of twists and surprises, but it ends up becoming a rather forgettable story, saved only by the chemistry of its protagonists. Plot twists must shock the audience, but they also have to make sense in hindsight. It’s as if finding out Bruce Willis’s character was dead in “The Sixth Sense” all along and you didn’t see the pieces of the puzzle until they came together. You have to have that magic, and Red Notice, unfortunately, fell short.  

Obviously, I’m not going to demand too much credibility in an action movie. It doesn’t try pretending to be a realistic story; on the contrary, it shows ridiculous situations that would ordinarily result in death or at least immediate detainment. This is a positive point, but it needs to make sense within its own universe. The first two acts of the film have absurdities, one of which was a missile flying through the doors of a helicopter without hurting anyone. Considering this would be just another ordinary Tuesday in a Fast & Furious movie, fans of action movies learn to accept it.   

Despite the fairly average movie logic until this point, the third act comes as a bomb, exploding surprises everywhere, while its main twist makes no sense concerning the rest of the story. This made the characters lose all development until this point just to shock the audience. Again, it’s probably an okay movie for those who like adrenaline and big, explosive blockbusters; however, it is not a sin to want something more, especially when you have three such capable stars. 

As already mentioned, the cast is one of the best things about Red Notice. After all, the trio is full of charisma, and each member finds themselves in roles that fit them very well. Dwayne Johnson is always the ideal choice to play an alpha male while also conveying comedy in recent years. His partnership with Ryan Reynolds is more believable than the one presented in “Hobbs & Shaw,” as the two of them mesh well together.   

Ryan Reynolds was practically born to be Deadpool, so his comedic style is being put to great use in his recent projects. However, what could become repetitive is saved by the actor’s charisma that brings differences to his respective characters. Wade Wilson is more of a joker, Guy in “Free Guy” was more innocent and here he is as Booth, a shrewd troublemaker.   

Gal Gadot is the one who had the most complicated challenge since The Bishop has a very different personality from the heroic Diana in “Wonder Woman.” She is a very in-your-face villain, but you can see the actress is having a lot of fun in the role, which is entertaining for the audience. Gadot steals the scene, always with a powerful pose, being the one person who knows how she can reel in the other two protagonists with ease.   

Finally, “Red Notice” is a good choice for those who like the action genre but don’t expect an uber-original story. Here we have a somewhat generic plot, but one that knows how to exploit great landscapes and stars. After all, this is as close as we’re going to get to a crossover between “Black Adam”, “Deadpool” and “Wonder Woman.”