Netflix’s RED NOTICE (2021) is saved by the charisma of its A-list stars

Netflix’s biggest movie to date has finally dropped. Red Notice combines a monstrous production value and three of the hottest stars to deliver a large-scale action/heist thriller guaranteed to entertain at your next movie night. It follows an Interpol agent as he’s sent across the globe to track down, capture and turn in one of the world’s most notorious art thieves.

The heist genre has always been a fun one to delve into – even if certain narrative elements don’t work, you can rest easy knowing that at the very least it will still be entertaining. That’s the case with Red Notice – it’s definitely not the most inventive action film, and there’s some questionable holes in the narrative, but at the end of the day it’s a fun ride. Despite some thieving antics going on, I wouldn’t put Red Notice entirely in the heist genre – I’d say it’s more a blend of a heist film and a typical dumb Netflix action film. It certainly has its fair share of neat heist elements, but it’s intercut with loud action sequences and fast-paced chases – which means it loses some of the subtlety usually attributed to heist films. Just like in the recently released Army of Thieves, this story moves all around the globe – however, Army of Thieves still felt relatively contained, whereas this feels closer to a Fast & Furious kind of global story. It results in a final product that’s a little uneven in its tone and pace, but is entertaining nonetheless.

The story is one that largely follows a structure you’ve seen time and time again. You can pinpoint where the narrative is going and almost exactly when certain characters will show up, and it doesn’t do much to try and change up that formula. What’s good is that the predictability of the story doesn’t weight it down all that much. The opening sequence, set in a museum in Rome, is Red Notice at its absolute best. There’s some entertaining action sequences after that point, but unfortunately it never really reaches those heights again. My biggest gripe is that some sections feel hastily written to where it’s not clear exactly why certain things are happening or what the motivation for specific characters is. It’s as if the film wants you to turn a blind eye and answers the questions you have with something to the equivalent of “just because”.

All that being said, the reason Red Notice works as well as it does is down to the all-star trio at the centre of this narrative. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot are three powerhouse performers who show why they’re some of the most sought-after actors right now. The infectious charisma and back-and-forth banter between the three of them are the defining factors that result in such an entertaining final product. They each have the ability to make average scenes engaging purely through the star power and charisma that they possess. From action sequences and comedic moments, right down to a couple of character-driven scenes, they each deliver convincing performances that are fun to watch. Without their presence, this film probably doesn’t even make it onto Netflix’s top 10 chart.

Having Dwayne and Ryan at the forefront the majority of the time results in plenty of successfully comedic moments spread generously throughout. There’s no questioning Ryan Reynolds’ comedic timing. The guy is a natural comedic genius, with his dry, sarcastic humour delivering laugh after laugh across the entire film. With Dwayne and Gal chiming in here and there with their own little quips, it creates a very fun dynamic that keeps the overall tone quite light.

In the end, Red Notice is a fun ride that doesn’t really offer much in the way of depth or striking originality. Of course, a film that’s inventive, thrilling and deeply engaging would be great, but sometimes having something that’s simply entertaining is enough. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot combine to form an awesome trio of personalities that elevate the film in almost every way. Their banter is great, the humour is on point and their electric chemistry helps with enhancing the fun of almost every scene. There’s certainly some narrative issues throughout, and the action doesn’t necessarily leave a lasting impact, but it’s an easy watch and a good time – even if only for the star power!

6.3/10

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