Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"Red Notice": one-paragraph review

I had put "Red Notice" on a "movies to see" list for when I finally became a Netflix member. I've been a member for a few months, now, and I finally got around to watching this 2021 action-comedy directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. The movie's opening title card defines what a red notice is: an Interpol alert designation for a wanted criminal, with red indicating the most serious level. Ryan Reynolds plays Nolan Booth, an art thief trying to steal the third egg of Cleopatra—the last of three gifts the queen had been given by her lover, the Roman general Mark Anthony. While the location of two of the eggs is known, the third egg is in some unknown location. Chasing after Booth is FBI profiler John Hartley (Johnson), who specializes in profiling and catching art thieves. Booth has been helped by the elusive Bishop (Gadot) who, it turns out, is also an art thief after the tantalizing third egg. The movie is basically one action set piece after another, with snappy dialogue, bloodless fight scenes, shifting loyalties, some very predictable plot twists, and an overall lighthearted sense of fun. I didn't come away wowed; I thought, in fact, that some of the comedic scenes ran a little too long and overstayed their welcome, and all three principals have, at this point, established themselves as action stars in other intellectual properties, so there weren't any real surprises, here. I remember seeing "Wonder Woman" and Gal Gadot for the first time; I recall thinking Gadot was so incredibly beautiful that it would be hard to tell how good of an actress she was. It's been a few years, and my verdict is... she's bland at best. I think Gadot totally owns the role of Wonder Woman, but in "Red Notice," she doesn't seem to be stretching her acting chops that much. Same for Johnson and Reynolds, too, really: they are well inside their comfort zones. Director Thurber has worked with Dwayne Johnson on a few action-comedies, none of which I've seen outside of this film; I think Thurber has found his niche, which is action films that don't have a lot of stakes or tension. It's the sort of thing I might have found more entertaining decades ago, but these days, I want my movies to have a bit more heft. All of which makes me wonder why I even bothered to put this movie on my to-see list. "Red Notice" is all flash and no substance, and all three stars have done better films.

No comments: