Who is ready for another big budget action film starring Dwayne Johnson? Johnson has been one of the most consistent film presences in the industry for a few years now. You need a huge burly man to lead your action movie, you get Johnson. But what if you threw in another popular and fun actor to your film? Ryan Reynolds is like your favorite…just add it to anything! Johnson and Reynolds have great chemistry together (Hobbs & Shaw) and their banter is worth the price of admission. BUT maybe they are still not enough? Bring on Gal Gadot. Put all three ingredients and shake this one up well…then we have Red Notice.
Does this new Netflix film make the most of all this star power? In many ways, you get what you are expecting and probably hoping for. Johnson does not enter too many films trying to broaden his acting chops and delivering nuanced performances. In Red Notice, we have a stern and focused Johnson who can also throw in come quips whenever necessary. His counterpart role was MADE for Reynolds. He can just do his thing by making potentially strange comments and references while shooting out quips quicker than a machine gun. Their chemistry is tangible, and you can tell these two can work so well in that “buddy film” formula. Does it lean on a lot of tropes? Sure…but they are just so great at it. Then you have Gadot. She pops in and out as the film’s protagonist. She is charming and radiant at every turn while getting to show a but of personality herself. None of them are really stretching themselves too far but this film is banking on all their charisma.
We know the actors are having a ball but what about the audience? Does writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber deliver a fun and engaging ride? Red Notice is a breezy fun time. Thurber throws in some twists and turns and some motivations for his characters to add a bit of flair. Overall, the narrative is standard for globetrotting heist films. The beats are expected and outside maybe a few minutes in the third act, the film is predictable. But what makes it so much fun outside of the cast are the fun homages that film delivers. You can tell this is a love letter to Indiana Jones and other adventure films like that. The action is fun as well with some inspired long takes and camera movements.
Is Red Notice going to surprise you and deliver an excitedly unpredictable ride? Probably not. But what it does deliver on is a great cast and some strong filmmaking. This could easily be a disposable and forgettable ride, but Thurber and company deliver enough to make this an enjoyable one instead. There is fun and excitement to be had over the course of this two-hour film that is big in scale and would be nice to see on the big screen. It has flaws (silly and out of place supporting characters and one sequence with bull fighting that is SO dumb and absurd) but there are plenty of things to enjoy that will make you (almost) forget about them.