Movie Review – Red Notice
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this review are solely those of Marlon Wallace and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WBOC.
Writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber is now up to his sixth feature film. Most of them have been big-budget flicks. The majority of them have been comedies. His first was DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004). Strangely, he had a small acting role in his own film as “Obnoxious Las Vegas Homophobe.” It’s strange because his second feature The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (2008) included a character who was bisexual. That character was part of a love triangle, not a physical threesome but intimations of such. Thurber then went on to do two films with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The first was Central Intelligence (2016). The second was Skyscraper (2018). This is the third collaboration with the former WWE star. In terms of the structure, this film is very similar to Central Intelligence. Yet, there are seemingly echoes of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh here as well.
Dwayne Johnson stars as John Hartley, a FBI profiler who is tracking an art thief, one of the most high-profile thieves in the world. John is a very good profiler. He can deduce a lot of things about a person and really understand them inside and out. He starts out in Rome, assisting Interpol in tracking the high-profile thief. This particular thief is targeting what’s called the “Eggs of Cleopatra.” They’re extremely valuable artifacts from Egyptian history.
Ryan Reynolds co-stars as Nolan Booth, the thief in question. He wants to be considered the best thief in the world. Stealing the Eggs of Cleopatra would apparently accomplish that. There’s three of them. One of which is in a museum in Rome, so that’s where he goes and that’s why John has tracked him there. Nolan is good at escaping from places, particularly prisons. He could be akin to Jim Carrey’s character in I Love You Phillip Morris (2009). One skill he seems to possess is parkour, which he certainly demonstrates.
It’s assumed that the film will be a game of cat-and-mouse between Nolan and John, but, as mentioned earlier, the structure of this film is more like Central Intelligence, which has Johnson, the seeming law-enforcement officer who is partnered with someone who has nothing to do with law enforcement and is in fact played by a loud-mouth or smart aleck comedian or in this case Reynolds who is a smart aleck actor. It’s the buddy cop formula that countless films have taken as their structure. However, when a character starts whistling the familiar tune of a John Williams’ score, it’s also clear that Thurber has also taken the structure or at least the inspiration of something like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
Gal Gadot also co-stars as Sarah Black aka the Bishop, another more infamous and more skilled thief who is also after the Eggs of Cleopatra. She’s hoping to make a fortune off them and then use the money to live in the lap of luxury. If not for the profit motive, I would possibly compare her to Carmen Sandiego, a character from a series of computer games, a character adapted in a cartoon called Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? (1994). That cartoon depicted Carmen Sandiego as committing the crimes more for the fun or the sport of it. That’s not the Bishop’s motivation. She just wants the money.
Ironically though, I would say that the 1994 cartoon is more entertaining and more intriguing that this film. However, if anyone wants a more current series that’s more entertaining and more intriguing, one can check out the Netflix series Lupin (2021). This film was in development years before that French series, but it would almost seem like this film is a result of the Netflix algorithm seeing the success with Lupin and Central Intelligence and mashing them up together. For good measure, the algorithm threw in a scene from a Jackie Chan film and a bit of the plot from The Fugitive (1993).
All of it though put through the lens and tone of Reynolds’ annoying comedic style, which is wise-cracking pop culture references and occasional, happy-go-lucky, raunchy insults. It’s similar to his comedy in Deadpool (2016), which I also didn’t appreciate.
Early in this film, there is a prison escape scene. It’s at a snowy, Russian prison. It was very reminiscent of the snowy, Russian prison in Black Widow (2021). That film also featured a prison escape. I might have been more impressed with the prison escape here, if I felt like I didn’t just see the exact same thing in Black Widow, which was only a few months ago.
Rated PG-13 for violence and action, some sexual references, and strong language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 57 mins.
Available on Netflix.