For those who aren’t in the know, a red notice is the highest level of arrest warrant that can be issued by Interpol. Apparently, the filmmakers behind Red Notice assume their audience isn’t in the know, since there’s a literal dictionary-style definition of the term displayed on screen during the opening titles. It’s slightly mystifying since it has very little to do with the film. Presumably, the Netflix bigwigs simply wanted a punchy title.
FBI profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is helping Interpol track down Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds), a prolific art thief who is attempting to steal a bejewelled egg once owned by Cleopatra. Things go awry, and after being framed as Booth’s accomplice, Hartley must work with the art thief to escape, clear his name and take down a competing thief known as the Bishop (Gal Gadot). However, the Bishop has bigger fish to fry, since she’s looking to track down all three of Cleopatra’s eggs in order to score a massive payday – and, naturally, she needs Booth’s help.
It’s really as though writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber watched all the Ocean’s Eleven films, combined with a selection of Indiana Jones and 007, before coming up with his “completely original idea”. Characters are framed, double-crossed and triple-crossed, with regular, periodic breaks for overblown action setpieces where the protagonists face henchmen and law enforcement officials who are very bad at their jobs. As intricate and tangled as the movie attempts to be, a barely conscious person could follow the plot without difficulty.
But is it entertaining? Sufficiently. The headlining trio do precisely what is expected of them and nothing more, playing characters they’ve already played before – just with different names. Johnson is no-nonsense, Gadot is seductive and Reynolds is Deadpool. A fair number of the latter’s jokes land perfectly well, whereas other quips seemingly went bungee jumping without a cord.
Red Notice is perfectly adequate entertainment, while also being completely disposable. The story’s attempt to set up a new franchise is painfully overt, yet this outcome might be inevitable since it’s practically impossible for the film not to top Netflix’s most-watched charts. In the years to come, audiences can expect more notices of varying colours, all equally adequate and disposable.
Red Notice is released on Netflix on 12th November 2021.
Watch the trailer for Red Notice here: