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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

CineHawk: Red Notice


Bringing together three of the biggest stars in Hollywood for an action/heist extravaganza, “Red Notice,” written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, follows a wrongfully imprisoned FBI agent and rightfully imprisoned art thief who team up to bring in the cunning criminal mastermind responsible for incarceration. 

The action-comedy stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopoulos. It is currently available to stream on Netflix.

“Red Notice” opens with a somewhat clunky exposition dump on three bejeweled eggs owned by Cleopatra, which serve as the MacGuffin of the film’s story. It is immediately followed by an art heist in the present day being investigated by FBI criminal profiler John Hartley, played by Johnson. He quickly deduces that one of the eggs has been stolen, leading to a lengthy chase after the infamous art thief, Nolan Booth, played by Reynolds.

After finally bringing Booth into custody, Hartley quickly finds himself following his target to prison when he is framed by Sarah Black, played by Gadot, a rival thief known simply as “The Bishop.” Upon learning that Black plans to steal the remaining eggs and sell them to a crime lord, Hartley convinces Booth to join forces with him to thwart the sale and recover the eggs.

It is, quite frankly, nothing short of a miracle that popular and in-demand stars like Johnson, Reynolds and Gadot could be signed on to a project with such a lazy and derivative screenplay. Every beat you have ever seen a hundred times over in the “buddy-cop genre” is presented with a mediocre, paint-by-number execution. 

The emotional center of the story, the relationship between Hartley and Booth, simply fails to stand out from so many other comedic duos that have come before. Not helping matters, Johnson and Reynolds seem to be fully aware of how uninspired their material is. While neither is exactly an Oscar-winning talent, it is quite evident from their character introductions that they are performing these roles halfheartedly at best. Reynolds fares better than Johnson and even managed to get some genuine laughs out of me, but they were few and far between.

Rounding out the trio is Gadot. Being the main antagonist, the story spends the least amount of time developing her character. Gadot has proven she can deliver entertaining and emotional performances in the past, but she is easily the weakest link of the film. Like so much of the story, her character and performance are mere regurgitations, a retread of the “femme fatale” archetype reduced to a bland stereotype. Her frequent flirtations with Hartley are undercut by the lack of believable chemistry between both characters, which even talented performers like Johnson and Gadot cannot compensate for.

That being said, Thurber, a veteran of the action-comedy thunder who has previously worked with Johnson on “Central Intelligence” and “Skyscraper,” does everything he can to compensate for these faults. Barely passable storytelling aside, “Red Notice” boasts some expertly choreographed and surprisingly fun action sequences. The only recurring element that could be considered a flaw is the ridiculous number of times the characters engage in shootouts without anyone taking a hit, stretching the credibility of these supposedly dangerous criminals.

Overall, “Red Notice” is not useful as a case study of modern Hollywood. In an industry dominated by sequels, reboots and shared universes, an original film finally comes along and disappoints. Once potential viewers get past the actors with previously established talent, they are left with a cliche-ridden, emotionally empty waste of two hours.

RATING: 3/10
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