How could an action-adventure-comedy treasure hunt movie starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds feel like it belongs unfinished? Red Notice seems more like Firewalker and if anyone remembers that disastrous 1986 movie starring Chuck Norris and Lou Gossett Jr., you know what you’re in for. If anything else like that movie, it proves a bigger reported budget doesn’t constitute a great movie.
The movie had a reported $200 million budget but still feels to follow Netflix aesthetics with most of the actions taking place inside buildings with as minimal actors/extras available. With a fifth of a billion dollars for the budget, there’s a lot of claustrophobic scenes involving either two or three of the headlining stars in rooms. Even the outside scenery looks fake.
The plot involves a lot of twists and turns, double-crosses, mistaken identities and people working together but appearing to be rivals. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who helmed Johnson’s previous action movies, Central Intelligence and Skyscraper, this seems like the beginning of a franchise. And Johnson seems to just want to do franchises now even though he’s told Vin Diesel in so many terms to go outside and play hide and go fuck yourself whenever he brings up another Fast and Furious movie. My guess would be Johnson’s plate is so full, he wants a vacation (or more control and screen time as those F&F movies seem more ensembles).
Regardless, Johnson was a delight in Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie despite its Jumanji vibe and he was better in those above-mentioned movies directed by Thurber. In this one, he channels more of his Fast and Furious Luke Hobbs role as FBI agent John Hartley who finds himself accused of illegal activity and working in cahoots with forger Nolan Booth (Reynolds) as they track prized bejeweled eggs that Marcus Antony reportedly gave Cleopatra.
Gadot plays Sarah Black, otherwise known as “The Bishop” an international criminal, who works with and against Booth and Hartley throughout the movie as they perform the action-buddy formula of constant bickering. It’s a lot to take in as they bounce around most of the world mostly taking place in enclosed spaces with only establishing shots.
There are a few actions scenes but not enough to be really thrilling. It’s a mixture of the Indiana Jones movies with the National Treasure movies set against Mission: Impossible espionage and the Romancing the Stone relationships. This seems more like a high-concept movie of getting Deadpool, The Rock and Wonder Woman to work together in a movie and people will just tune in.
Johnson, who is usually a delight to watch, seems a little bored and even Reynolds seems to be throwing in his rejected quips that didn’t land in other movies. Gadot seems to have some fun playing a character who may or may not be the villain. She gives off a femme fatale vibe but Reynolds and Johnson already played this dynamic in that Hobbs and Shaw spinoff. And they did it better there.
The movie ends with the possibility of a sequel and it’s been reported that two sequels are in development to be filmed back-to-back. They might be better as sometimes the problems is introducing the characters. Even the F&F movies got better to a degree before they got repetitive and unbelievable. But maybe they’ll hire some more writers to help Thurber with the script. Despite some problems, this could’ve been a better movie.
What do you think? Please comment.