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Red Notice review – Netflix’s latest action-comedy show off big stars and an even bigger budget

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Featured image: Netflix


‘It’s this lack of respect and reliability the two have for one another that makes real comedy gold,’ writes A Bearded Critic.


What do you get when you mix three of the hottest actors around, a 200 million dollar budget, and one of the biggest names in the streaming industry into one movie? Well, you get Netflix’s Red Notice. Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot; this high-octane action-comedy brings its A-game and proves to be one of the biggest movies for the popular streaming service to date.

The basic premise for the film is that of a comedy homage of films from yesteryear i.e. National Treasure (2004) and the ‘Oceans’ saga. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) plays Nolan Booth, a proficient thief who is only bested by the likes of Gal Gadot’s character, ‘The Bishop’. To beat The Bishop to the score of the 3 eggs of Cleopatra, Booth must team up with F.B.I. agent John Hartley played by Dwyane Johnson (Fast and Furious). 

This ‘cat and mouse’ film has plenty of fun and exciting scenes, driven by the heavily expected and appreciated on-screen charisma between the three main actors, which is ever-present in almost every other film they have starred in of late.

“Why are you wearing the hairnet? You’re bald.” – Nolan Booth.

Detailed review

Both written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, best known for his work on Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and more recently Skyscraper (2018), Thurber continues to impress us when it comes to blending intense action with genuine humour. Given that Reynolds is one of the hottest on-screen actors at present, and well known for his dry sense of humour, it’s surprising that most of the laughs are from the re-acting from Johnson during their scenes together. Hartley doesn’t agree with Booth’s way of life, and vice versa, but both need the other to clear their names of implied previous thefts of rare artefacts and to capture the competition, The Bishop, in the act. It’s this lack of respect and reliability the two have for one another that makes real comedy gold.

Even though Gal Gadot is often the weaker of the trio when it comes to bringing something unique to scenes, she is integral to the story progression and still manages to impress during fight scenes; something she’s well known for in her Wonder Woman movies. It’s when the three of them get together on screen that the real sparks start to fly. Unlike your usual one-v-one fight sequences, everyone manages to portray the combat scene like a well-choreographed dance, with Gadot often thwarting attacks from the two fully grown men. You go, girl!

“Even if I did partner up with you, we’d still only have one brain” – John Hartley.

Set locations vary from Egyptian jungles to Russian jailhouses, and it’s here that we see where the money that has been pumped into Netflix’s biggest investment has gone. Thankfully no setting feels cheap or green-screened, and the explosions were as weighted as Johnson’s forearms. In addition, the film was one of the first to utilise first-person view drones to get some spectacular flying shots, and it’s evident that the film’s team looked at new ways of capturing cinema with success.   

The pacing of the movie is the unfortunate downfall to what would otherwise be a perfect action-comedy. The amount of time it takes for the characters to achieve anything substantial is lengthy to say the least and it all comes to a flat open end. The storytelling is sadly so predictable that most will see the end coming, way before the actual reveal itself. This makes the second half of the movie less enjoyable but doesn’t take much away from the moments of genuine comedy and impressive action. 

Final Thoughts

With three actors that can seemingly do no wrong and a great director, Red Notice sure manages to impress and surprise with great chemistry, slick filmography, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. However, the film falls prey to tiresome storytelling in the later acts and relies far too heavily on plot twists to give any weight to an otherwise mundane closing act. The grand climax was left feeling cheap, definitely cheaper than the insane budget it cost to create.

“There is one last thing you should know. Trusting a thief can be dangerous.” – The Bishop.


A Bearded Critic Rating: 3.5/5


Watch Red Notice on Netflix


A Bearded Critic reviews new releases, old classics, and the occasional video game. Core topics covered include plot progression, character development, overall acting skill sets, and comparisons within the wider industry. Follow A Bearded Critic on Instagram and read more of his reviews on aAh!

About the author / 

Reece Donlan

Reece Donlan is a Journalism student at Manchester Met that loves movies and gaming alike. Follow his personal blog at https://rdonlan.wixsite.com/reggiereviews

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