Overly hasty heist adventure ‘Red Notice’ is barely noticeable

photo from Red Notice
Netflix/Courtesy

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Grade: 2.5/5.0

Released just in time for the holiday season, Netflix’s “Red Notice” has taken the world by storm as it has become the most-watched film on the streaming platform — more than 50% of current subscribers have reportedly seen the film. 

Despite boasting the popularity of a large action-adventure blockbuster, “Red Notice” lacks many of the crucial elements that make the genre great in the first place. From unrealistic circumstances to a hasty ending, the film fails to distinguish itself from other derivative action movies. Ironically, “Red Notice” is hardly noticeable at all.

Boasting a cast of A-list celebrities, including Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, “Red Notice” tells the story of stealthy criminals double-crossing each other as they race across the globe in search of the mysterious third golden egg, part of an ancient wedding gift given to the Egyptian queen Cleopatra by Marc Antony some 2000 years ago.

The film opens with main character Agent Hartley (Johnson) chasing after the infamous international art thief Nolan Booth (Reynolds) after discovering he had stolen the first egg from the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. A scuffle ensues in the streets of Rome, and the two find themselves one-upped by a powerful art thief known only as The Bishop (Gadot), who ends up taking the egg and leaving the two in prison. And so the stakes are set — it’s two against one in a comedic adventure matchup between three of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Unfortunately, the cat-and-mouse chase falls flat when a belated plot twist occurs without forewarning. This initially welcome buildup makes the plot twist from one of the characters all that more frustrating. To the viewers, it feels like betrayal after everything the protagonists and audience have gone through together. The plot twist itself is not the film’s central issue, and it could have even been clever if executed more thoroughly. But without further explanation, it instead feels like the movie is purposely made to end simply for the sake of ending the movie, as if the writers ran out of ideas. Left with an extremely rushed ending and little else, the audience is left unsatisfied, making the entire movie feel incomplete. The lackluster development of the rest of the storyline ultimately makes this film a missed opportunity, regardless of how well the beginning and middle were executed.

Most of the film’s appeal rests on the leading performances and dynamic between Johnson, Reynolds and Gadot. Yet, the promise of chemistry and witty banter ends up underwhelming. While their acting is not necessarily poor, it’s difficult to view the characters as Agent Hartley, Nolan Booth and The Bishop without thinking about The Rock, Reynolds and Gadot, making it difficult for viewers to truly immerse themselves in the film. It’s critical for viewers to feel as though they are experiencing the protagonist’s journey alongside the characters, but “Red Notice” fails to fully engage its audiences with its rather disappointing overall predictability and overused casting tropes, especially with The Rock and Gadot.

“Red Notice” is sorely underdeveloped and lacks complexity. The action-filled movie offers high-quality production and a captivating setting, but its unpolished plotline and insufficiently developed characters detract too significantly for audiences to truly immerse themselves.

Contact Erica Jean at [email protected].