Thursday, December 2, 2021

Red Notice Review: Johnson, Reynolds, Gal Gadot at Netflix Failure

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“Red Notice”, as conveniently defined in “Red Notice”, is the highest level of an arrest warrant issued by Interpol. You might think of this detail as a red herring given how little it really affects the movie’s hilarious and hectic plot. The headline color, however, is really coaching: he appears in a shiny red dress that Gal Gadot wears at a masquerade ball, and in a red ring arena, where Dwayne Johnson looks at an angry bull. And, of course, he appears in the bright red Netflix logo that proudly kicks off the film – the kind of noisy travel around the world, grave raids and rocket launches that a traditional studio would have produced a few years ago. …

This was actually a plan in 2018, when Universal Pictures gave the green light to the Red Notice due to Johnson’s affection and, presumably, some hint of a premise (big guns, priceless artifacts, daddy issues, he writes). But a year later, before production began, the studio backed out for widely discussed reasons: perhaps they finally took a look at screenwriter / director Rawson Marshall Thurber, or maybe they were frightened (undeservedly!) By the box office disappointment. Skyscraper, a previous Thurber-Johnson collaboration. Whatever the reason, Netflix bought the picture for over $ 160 million, making it one of the most expensive films in streamer history and burying several industry jaws.

This was all before the pandemic that delayed film production and normalized the once-unthinkable prospect that expensive studio films (such as Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984) would become predominantly streamed. All of this makes the tediously overclocked Red Note only slightly more interesting as a big-money movie history than a fictional big-money story. One hundred and sixty million dollars is a hefty amount (and probably by the most conservative estimates), but it is overshadowed by the $ 300 million salary pursued by this film’s trio of dishonest people.

Johnson plays John Hartley, an FBI specialist who targets Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds), one of the world’s most wanted and disgusting art thieves. They soon become involved in a scheme based on three bejeweled eggs that once belonged to Cleopatra, all of which are now locked up in remote corners of the globe. Various shenanigans involving Dan Brown and James Bond, south of Indiana Jones, take place: windows smashing, scaffolding collapsing and a brand new Porsche spanked for about five seconds in a not-so-exciting chase in one of the film’s best jokes. The action jumps from a museum in Rome to a flight in Bali to a prison in the coldest of Russia, where a serious agent and an insidious thief pass from stubborn inmates to stubborn partners.

Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot in Red Notice.

(Frank Masi / Netflix)

With a mischievous wink, Booth’s main adversary in the crime, Bishop (Gadot), pushes their hand, who has an annoying talent for throwing Booth and Hartley apart, cheerfully staying several steps ahead. This forced triangulation adds a faint crackle of sexual tension and a lot of one-sided jokes, with Reynolds predictably dominating sharp jokes, while his co-stars generally have common sense not to even try to keep up. Falsely said, Gadot finds himself in a particularly disadvantageous position. Whether she’s mocking a shackled intelligence analyst or applying shock electrodes to Johnson’s lower regions, she confirms – much as her brightly serious Wonder Woman speeches already suggested – that winking cynicism isn’t her forte.

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Johnson, a skilled performer with a gift for self-mockery, is doing somewhat better. As in Thurber’s delightfully dumb-but-not-so-dumb Central Intelligence, he finds himself playing a big, buffer-sided side in a furious action comedy; However, in this film, he and Kevin Hart played against the typeface and struck an unexpectedly fresh, paradoxical dynamic. Johnson and Reynolds aren’t the worst action duo – they both hang well from the roof railing – but their extra pair is thin and predictable by comparison. Reynolds mostly sits down, gunning out of his mouth, rattling about the latest Instagram and Post Malone references, while Johnson responds with mostly stony silence, his facial muscles sometimes stretching a short distance from irritated to unperturbed.

In other words: Reynolds has to ridicule and disassemble the plot (“Look for the MacGuffin box,” he remarks during a particularly bleak part of the egg hunt), and Johnson and Gadot are ready to seriously summarize. … And some of the repetitions are admittedly helpful, given Thurber’s diligence in piling on narrative fakes and tedious side characters, including the Interpol assassin (Rita Arya) and the shirtless arms dealer (Chris Diamantopoulos), all on their way to such a meaningless ending. that the characters seem a little embarrassed to agree with this. A depressing reminder of what Hollywood considers “original” material these days, “Red Notice” plays one of those shyly convoluted, ultimately derivative of long minuses that strains so hard that they seem carefree carefree that they end up exhausting you. … After all, rest is cliché.

“Red notice”

Rating: PG-13, for violence and actions, some sexual references and profanity

Duration: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Plays: Starts November 5th in general release; available November 12th on Netflix

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