Red Notice (2021)
November 14, 2021 10:03 AM - Subscribe

An Interpol agent tracks the world's most wanted art thief.

In the world of international crime, an Interpol agent attempts to hunt down and capture the world's most wanted art thief.

Scott Tobias: There’s no evidence that anyone involved in the film cared about making it at any point. Not its writer-director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has conceived of a ripoff of a ripoff of a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark, like National Treasure without the soul. Not Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, three of the biggest and most boring stars in Hollywood, whose careers boast a grand total of one unexpected performance between them. (That would be Reynolds in Mississippi Grind, though even there he’s no Ben Mendelsohn.) And certainly not Netflix, which would happily just light the money on fire instead if it meant gaining an edge in the streaming wars.

Melody McCune: It’s a derivative flick that relies too much on Reynolds’ incessant barrage of sarcastic one-liners to keep the audience entertained. That’s not to say the dialogue isn’t funny, but when it’s one sardonic or self-deprecating quip after another, you start to wonder when the genuine moments will come.

Of course, that’s Reynolds’ shtick — he’s the hilariously dry leading man armed to the teeth with witty japes. At this point, he and Wade Wilson are one person.

Johnson and Gadot don’t impress where performances are concerned, but they certainly deliver on the action front. Arya, who impressed me as Lila Pitts on The Umbrella Academy, is severely underused here. Diamantopoulos plays the mustache-twirling, bombastic villain you’d expect to see in a 1960s action film. That said, he speaks in a quiet voice, so the character lives up to his name.

Perhaps I went in with high expectations, but I found the unoriginal bits to be less than gripping. We’ve seen the “good guy bands together with a known criminal to take down a common enemy” story played out before. Sure, the good guy loathes the baddie initially, but a bond forms, and now they like each other!

Red Notice’s pacing doesn’t seem to find its footing till the end. The story inconsistently chugs along, leaning on Reynolds and familiar thriller plot points to move forward. Admittedly, despite Reynolds’ occasionally tiresome stream of jokes, he’s the best part of the film.

The movie’s big twist comes out of left field, and it arrests your attention. But it feels like it’s too little, too late at that juncture.

Rachel LaBonte: Marshall, who also wrote the screenplay for Red Notice, knows all the beats he has to hit with a movie like this. The action is quick and exciting to watch, and the characters travel all over the globe in their determination to get to each Egg before the others. There's plenty of banter between the three leads, especially with Booth and Hartley as they settle into their odd couple pairing. Unfortunately, not every quip lands, even when delivered by Reynolds with his signature wise-crack style. Red Notice pulls out a few good laughs, but the dialogue doesn't always stick the landing. The action makes up for that in some instances; working with cinematographer Markus Förderer, Marshall keeps the camera zipping around in a way that brings some necessary energy to Red Notice.

posted by Carillon (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed the film in a pop-corn movie sort of way. Light and fluffy. It was nice to see Gal Godot playing Catwoman rather than Wonder Woman. Dwayne and Ryan were... Dwayne and Ryan. High point: Ryan's fight on the scaffolding, which had a nice Jackie Chan-style making-this-up-as-I-go-along feel.

Biggest complaint: there are no stakes in this movie. "Cleopatra's eggs" won't end world hunger or threaten to destroy the planet. They're just some shiny junk that these dudes want so that they score some big $$$. Like Frozone said, "We look like bad guys. Incompetent bad guys!" (Maybe that will be the running gag if there's ever a Red Notice II: this "army of thieves" always drops the swag.)
posted by SPrintF at 10:15 AM on November 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

I watched this Friday night in a hotel room and it's basically the perfect hotel room movie (I sometimes get a hotel room at a hotel nearby to feel like I'm on "vacation" for a weekend and this was the first one back since, you know, the pandemic). It worked to turn my brain off.

It knows what movie it is and so does everyone in it and it works on that level. The fight sequences were actually impressive. It doesn't really make any sense in any way but I was entertained enough. It gave me exactly what I wanted from it.
posted by edencosmic at 10:22 AM on November 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

I liked this movie though it wasn't great it anything. The macguffin line had be laughing. Honestly the thing I found most annoying was the implication that Nazis had containerization during WW2.
posted by Carillon at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

"I'm Ed Sheeran Bitch!"


That's the best part of the entire movie.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:12 PM on November 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

The Ed Sheeren part was the first time I ever liked Ed Sheeren. No offense to Ed Sheeren. But that was probably my favorite part of the movie. I'm not anti-spoilers but I'm also glad I didn't know about it ahead of time because it was a surprise and a delight.
posted by edencosmic at 4:43 PM on November 14, 2021

The first time I heard of Ed Sheeran was when he was on Game of Thrones as a singing Lannister. The next time I saw him was in Yesterday, where he played Ed Sheeran. Then last night I saw him in this, where he played Ed Sheeran. I admit that I only know him from 3 things, but I am having some doubts about his range as an actor.

Oh wait! He was also recently on SNL as musical guest Ed Sheeran.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:35 PM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was apprehensive since reviews were pretty harsh on this.

It's alright. There some cleverish dialogue that Reynolds manages to pull off. The action scenes weren't bad. The twist was ok, and The Rock barely pulled it off. Gadot fulfilled what was requested for the role.

But it was a little too shiny/ polished, too rote, and gunning for a franchise put me off. In comparison to 'Free Guy,' I liked that better since it almost had some real heart instead of a min-maxed for-profit enterprise.

Hah! SPrintF! Throughout the film I was snarking in my head about how Cleopatra's eggs were kegel-related.

I wonder when a parody invokes Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop vagina eggs and her matching scented candles?
posted by porpoise at 7:29 PM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I saw a trailer for this a few days ago, and immediately knew I would watch it, despite the terrible reviews, because I generally love action comedy movies and lament that they've pretty much been given over entirely to Marvel at this point in cinematic history.

I've noticed that it's in theaters, as well as on Netflix, and if I had paid money to see this movie in a theatre, I would probably be pretty disappointed, but it was perfectly fine for a Saturday afternoon at home.

I will say that I was not really surprised by the big twist at the end. I couldn't have told you the exact form that it would take, but I knew a double cross from that direction was on its way. If I had to guess, I would have guessed a different pairing, but it was not a shocking surprise.

I found Reynolds' little jokes about the movie being like a movie to be kind of annoying. They weren't consistent enough to be a proper framing device or even contribute to character development. They weren't funny enough to be worth breaking the fourth wall for. So they're just kind of there, I guess letting you know that the writers are aware that the movie is a derivative hack job but they got paid so they don't care? Except now that I look it up, the writer is the director, so I'm assuming he genuinely thought they were clever.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:33 AM on November 15, 2021

High point: Ryan's fight on the scaffolding

I dunno - so, I noticed that whenever he got to the next level up - there was already a guard waiting for him at one or the other end, who would only then launch themselves at him.

It was "ok" - we love ourselves some "hoist" movies around this household (someone once missprounced "heist" and now that's how we refer to the entire genre). (I mean, I am always going to love Ryan Renolds "schtick" and, well The Rock playing "The Rock")

Definately worth the ~$0.03/hr that I pay for Netflix.
posted by rozcakj at 5:59 AM on November 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm in the minority again. I loved this. It was a fun ride, ridiculous in so many ways, but I enjoyed every ridiculous second of it.
posted by ceejaytee at 12:19 PM on November 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure it's a minority. The general (public) opinion seems to be that it is dumb and formulaic and by-the-numbers and written-by-an-AI etc., and that the movie still manages to be actually fun, possibly because it knows exactly what it tries to be and... succeeds.
As a side note: the movie includes several direct references/tributes to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I realised that as many years separate Red Notice (2021) from Raiders (1981) as separate Raiders from the serials (1930-1940s) it took inspiration from. I wouldn't be surprised that for many teenagers today Raiders is as ancient as those serials were for teenage me in 1981.
posted by elgilito at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

Just popping in to offer some crossover content for the PBS crowd.
posted by sardonyx at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's hard to imagine going into this movie with high expectations, as a reviewer above did.

It's sort of good anyway. Halfway decent buddy banter is very powerful.

Gal Gadot cannot do comedy though.
posted by fleacircus at 9:00 PM on November 16, 2021

It's weird, because usually I complain that dumb movies are too kindly reviewed these days (a dumb adventure movie from the 90s is 10x better than an equivalently reviewed one from the 21st century), but I really enjoyed this! The action scenes really ticked along! Maybe the low expectations helped, but I would not mind watching a sequel. The only hangup I had was that the INTERPOL agent was so suspiciously inept that I expected the final twist to be that SHE was evil.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:34 PM on November 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's definitely more interesting to think about how/why it sorta works than the million other ways it's extruded product.
posted by fleacircus at 4:26 PM on November 21, 2021

I thought it was a very fun movie that reminded me of early '80s comedies like Top Secret! and Ghostbusters. It doesn't take itself seriously at all, and the bad reviews are from people who took it too seriously.

They way they shot Ryan Reynolds and The Rock in their bunk beds in the prison cell reminded me of the "we ate sand" scene in Raising Arizona.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:46 PM on November 23, 2021

Sometimes Roger Ebert would give a glowing review to a silly genre film because it did exactly what it set out to do, and there was a purity to that as well as the sense that those who set their expectations right would have a ball.

I almost didn't watch this because of all the scathing reviews but I'm glad I did, because I expected it to be a derivative, fast paced, goofy, wise-cracking ride, and it delivered.

Looking back at those reviews now made me think of the classic David Sedaris piece Front Row Center With Thaddeus Bristol.
posted by gwint at 6:51 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

'Red Notice' is now Netflix's most watched movie of all time, which, ok, fine, but: "Currently, 50 percent of all Netflix's subscribers around the world have viewed 'Red Notice.'" -- whoa.
posted by gwint at 7:06 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m finding it alright.

I did get a good laugh from Johnson’s scene where he steals the Porsche Taycan, complete with the Beasties’ Sabotage blasting just as he speeds off. Good payoff gag to what would have been a typical beginning of a macho car chase scene.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:22 PM on December 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

My (older) kids and I enjoyed the heck out of this. I mean, no, it's not an objectively high-quality movie, but The Rock and Ryan Reynolds just dorking around on set having a buddy comedy is hilarious all on its own, before you put it in an art heist movie. I rolled my eyes a bit at the CGI, but my kids were like "WHOA! HE HAS A BAZOOKA! WHOA! IT SHOT THROUGH THE HELICOPTER DOORS!" and it's hard not to enjoy stupid fight scenes when tweens are LIVING for them.

We actually just watched all four Indiana Jones movies, and my kids CRACKED UP when Reynolds whistled the Raiders theme, they spotted it immediately. (And felt super-clever and very grown-up that they got a referential joke.) They loved the Indiana Jones vibe of it and caught a bunch of references. (We also just watched the whole Jumanji series so they're very into The Rock, and really enjoyed watching him.)

The Ed Sheeran cameo KILLED me.

"Honestly the thing I found most annoying was the implication that Nazis had containerization during WW2."

Right??? My kids jumped on that. MY beef, however, was that Gal Gadot took her hair DOWN before beating people up, whereas everyone knows that you put your hair UP before throwing down!

During action sequences, oldest child repeatedly shouted, "TOIGHT!" a la Jake Peralta. Middle child: "THIS IS A GREAT MOVIE!"

Oldest (12): "That could be a comedy AND a spy movie!"
Middle (10): "That was great and hilarious!"
Me (old): I laughed a lot and was very entertained and had a good time with my kids, so two thumbs up from me!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 PM on December 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

> Gal Gadot took her hair DOWN before beating people up, whereas everyone knows that you put your hair UP before throwing down!

Yes! That caused much shouting in the Corpse household.

Also it goes out of its way to fail the Bechdel Test. Not that I expected it to pass, but when you have two female characters making eye contact and yet somehow not ever talking to each other... ah well.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:14 PM on December 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

The Rock and Ryan Reynolds just dorking around on set having a buddy comedy is hilarious all on its own

Very much so! Hangout/rat pack movies are a thing and giving them something to do was great.
posted by Carillon at 9:42 PM on December 31, 2021

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