An Interpol agent tracks the world's most wanted art thief. (from IMDb)
With streaming services increasing the amount of films getting exclusive distribution and release, the caliber of film in these instances is beginning to increase as well. This has been something that has been slowly on the rise, but the recent global pandemic has had the film industry scrambling to restructure. With that, Netflix has secured the rights to a blockbuster-grade action film titled Red Notice which unites the big box office names of Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. The movie did make its debut in a very select number of theaters a week earlier, but as of November 12th, it's available on anyone's personal movie-viewing device with a subscription to the popular streaming service.
Red Notice is an action "buddy" comedy cut from a similar cloth as films like Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, Lethal Weapon, or any number of two unlikely guys being stuck together while trying to get a specific job done. In this case, it's a race against time to steal a series of three priceless artifacts -- gold Egyptian eggs that date back to the days of Cleopatra. Dwayne Johnson plays a criminal profiler for the FBI named John Hartley who is helping Interpol track down a renowned art thief, Nolan Booth, played by Ryan Reynolds. But when Hartley is framed for stealing, he gets stuck with Booth, and the two end up on quite the journey as they try to one-up another art thief nicknamed The Bishop - played by the lovely Gal Gadot - who seems to best them at every turn.
Red Notice is the kind of action comedy that doesn't take itself very seriously, and gets by nicely on its charm and knack for touting a fun vibe. Even the action scenes are relatively tongue-in-cheek, which is best exhibited when the three leads fight each other in a villain's ancient weapons-filled treasure vault. Reynolds' fast-talking, joke-quipping Nolan is a lot like pretty much all of his characters on screen these days, but he fuels the film's funnybone, keeping things light even when Johnson's Hartley is getting tortured briefly in one sequence. The caper itself is fun too, and the movie goes on a globe-trotting adventure that would make 007 jealous. It's one of those fun, entertaining summer movies that begs the viewer not to overthink the proceedings and just sit back and enjoy the ride. I found myself swept up and enjoying the trip, but I did find myself thinking "Wait... really?" a few times while pondering it afterwards. It's probably not the most original affair, and in the end, it does feel like there was something lacking from making it great, but it was undoubtedly a fun film nevertheless.
The content of Red Notice is a pretty hard PG-13, mostly due to profanity and some off-color jokes from Reynolds. Reynolds says a just-barely-incomplete use of the "F" word at one point, and later emphatically says it in full (as "What the f---!!"). There's also one more muffled "F" word from a random character whose mouth is taped shut and he mumbles the profanity. Aside from that, there are over 20 uses of the "S" word, an assortment of colorful phrases and words (including "S.O.B," "*ssh*le," "d*ck" and more), and plenty of blasphemy. Also, at one point, Nolan tries to appeal to John that he lies to everyone - not just him - and lists a bunch of people, including "Baby Jesus," and then sort of guiltily looks Heavenward. Otherwise, there are a couple crude jokes and a very random but brief prison shower scene where the guys are showering in a room with other men and we see a man's bare butt in the background. (Otherwise there are no sex scenes or anything.) There is no female nudity, but there is plenty of cleavage in Gal Gadot's outfits, including a pretty small swimsuit she is seen wearing at one point. Thematically, the movie makes a statement about the main characters having parental issues growing up - especially with their fathers - which could upset some viewers (particularly for those who might find this to be a sensitive subject). Lastly, there is a hearty dose of action violence, but it's seldom bloody or graphic -- most of it is bloodless. There's a brief scene of torture by shocking with shock paddles, but it isn't very long or focused on.
Overall, Red Notice should scratch the itch for anyone looking for a decent action/adventure comedy with a few fun movie stars to take the trip with. It's hardly fantastic, but it's thoroughly enjoyable and pretty entertaining escapism. Unfortunately, the frequent profanity and some crude remarks drag the film down and make it one I can't outright recommend, so you may want to look over the content carefully before checking it out.
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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