in , ,

Red Notice


‘…it’s not that Red Notice is done badly, it’s just so vanilla that it leaves no taste whatsoever…’

Yikes! Cinema’s race to the bottom takes a dramatic off-road short-cut with this released-to-movie-houses-but-straight-to-Netflix blockbuster; Ryan Reynolds, The Rock and Gal Gadot may all be stars of 2021, but they won’t be for long if they continue to churn our such deeply average fare as Red Notice. The money has been abruptly drained out of cinema exhibition by the pandemic, with 2021’s audience seventy per-cent down on 2019, so it was probably fortuitous for the Universal studio that they cut their losses on the development of Red Notice and flogged it to Netflix; what Netflix can be blamed for is blowing a reported $200 million on making such a lazy, derivative film.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber with little of the good humour that he brought to Dodgeball, but lots of the vanilla blandness of his Central Intelligence and Skyscraper, Red Notice announces itself with some high-concept hogwash about Anthony and Cleopatra, and three antique eggs which are the secret desire of all art lovers; we’re deep in National Treasure meets Mission Impossible territory. The Rock plays FBI agent John Hartley who teams up with master-thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds) to bust their way out of a Russian jail and track down the bejewelled eggs of legend. Standing in their way is uber-crim The Bishop aka Sarah Black (Gadot) who has her own designs on the eggs. Rinse and repeat a three-way stand-off in Rome, Bali, Valencia, Argentina and wherever else a second unit crew could be dispatched to film background action while the stars buffooned around in front of green-screens in Atlanta.

While clearly expensive, Red Notice is bedevilled with the current era’s cheap process work; take a look at the bullfighting scene featured here and tell me that technology has come on leaps and bounds since the horrid process work of, say, A View to a Kill. The Rock and Reynolds look like they’re standing in front of animated lobby posters for their own film, and that threadbare will-this-do? feel applies to the whole project. Reynolds’ motor-mouth self-referential shtick runs dry here in ancient vaudevillian routines; in a film that steals scene after scene from other projects, Booth’s constant referencing of other movies betrays a lack of inspiration as being a major problem here. So when they explore a forgotten tomb, Booth whistles the theme tune from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Hilariously meta cultural commentary, right? Or maybe just lame. It’s not that Red Notice is done badly, it’s just so vanilla that it leaves no taste whatsoever…

In a Brewster’s Millions scenario, Netflix seem intent on spending vast sums of money in a fashion that leaves them with absolutely nothing of any material or cultural value. Red Notice should pick up initial views by dint of a star trio and a commercial sensibility, but there’s nothing for audiences to buy into here; it’s just the same old heist movie. Cinema audiences do seem to turn out for established IP in 2021, but everything else is just disposable, and whether you see it at home or in the flicks, the super-blando actics of Red Notice look likely to have the shelf-life of yesterday’s prawn sandwich…

Red Notice is on Netflix and UK/US cinemas now.


Leave a Reply
    • After an hour of deep and personal soul searching, the honest answer is no. He’s a genial presence, but when your career highlights are The Rundown and Southland Tales, the answer has to be no. His Twitter account is very engaging if you’re interested in neck crunches.

        • From pretty much all accounts, he’s a genial guy. Worked his way up from kids films too. But yet to strike a spark as a serious actor.

  1. Saw this last night while highly intoxicated, saw through the big reveal at the end and i just went to sleep afterwards… great review and your voews on thos echo’s those of mine. Thanks man

    • Quite a number of vanilla enthusiasts based on a recent sampling of public opinion. But it’s the flavour of the flavour less to me.

      Prawns are good, nice in a cocktail.

Leave a Reply