Red Notice is a pre-loaded package, an action-comedy booster pack, a failsafe for audiences looking for popcorn entertainment.
What are the ingredients? You have three bankable, reliable leads: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber, a filmmaker who has shown he can connect with audiences through action and comedy (We’re The Millers, Central Intelligence), and has chemistry with Johnson. It’s a twisty caper with car chases, silly but elaborate hand-to-hand stuntwork, snappy dialogue and jokes, and international travel. The results may be conventional, but it’s still very watchable because everyone is very good at their job.
I’ve read plenty of takes from people who have sharpened their knives for Red Notice, claiming the film is more of a manufactured, focus-tested product than a standalone movie. I’m guilty of doing the exact same thing calling the film a “package” and referring to its parts as “ingredients”. However, Red Notice didn’t bother me because I was either too busy laughing at the banter between Johnson and Reynolds, or I was swept up in the exciting action scenes. You can choose to be cynical about Red Notice and gripe about what it isn’t doing, or you can accept Red Notice for what it is and appreciate what it’s doing well. It isn’t a perspective that everyone will embrace, and maybe this is a reaction to how badly the would-be disaster flick 13 Minutes burned me recently. But, I streamed Red Notice wanting an action movie that would keep a steady pace and make me smile, and it delivered.
Did I buy all of what Red Notice was selling? No. Some twists were a bit too farfetched even for how outrageous Red Notice becomes, and Gadot wasn’t convincing as a conniving crook (the last time I had this much difficulty believing a villain was in Baywatch, another vehicle of Dwayne Johnson’s). However, those are blips on Red Notice’s engaging range as a crowd-pleaser.
Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie