It looks like things are finally getting back to normal, at least in the movie theater front. Slowly but surely, cinemas all over the world are opening back up at last! But there are still some caveats as they can’t be packed with people still so the “real” cinema experience is still a ways out. So, in the meantime, I’m betting people will still be using their Netflix and other streaming services to fill that itch they feel when the want to watch a movie.
Thankfully, streaming services like Netflix have taken up a lot of the slack as they’re actually showing new original films even when things are getting back to normal. However, I do have to question if watching on Netflix will feel like the same epic experience now that we can actually watch big blockbusters on the big screen once again. Will a film like the Netflix exclusive Red Notice feel as grand now that we have the cinemas back up? Let’s go find out!
Oh, and while Red Notice is on Netflix and most of everyone has the service, I’m still going to write up this review as a SPOILER FREE review. Maybe people are just too busy going out on the town since things are opening up slowly but surely. I’m still pretty sure a lot of subscribers have seen it. But just in case, this is still a SPOILER FREE review.
Red Notice generally follows the hunt of a trio of
macguffins valuable items as a bounty has been placed on them. A thief named Nolan Booth manages to steal the first item but is caught by John Hartley and Interpol thanks to a tip from another thief only known as Bishop. When Hartley is framed by Bishop, Hartley joins forces with Booth, even though they have two completely different motivations for working together. Booth simply wants the bounty but Hartley is doing this to arrest Bishop and clear his name.
Right out of the gate, I will say the best thing about Red Notice is the star studded cast. With names like Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot headlining the film, you had to expect the film gushing with charm. And, for the most part, it does. However, no one is really taken out of their comfort zone. Dwayne Johnson is still the mostly straight man paired with the more smart aleck Ryan Reynolds. Gal Gadot still oozes stern sex appeal in her scenes. You can say it’s perfect casting in a sense as the three behave how you’d expect them to act in a movie. Still, most of the laughs come from Ryan Reynolds’ quick witted barbs and playing him off Dwayne Johnson works but there were moments when their chemistry doesn’t work. They work well most of the time but there were a few scenes where it just felt off. Also, as much as I like Gal Gadot, her character does come off as a little too perfect here and I just wish she had a few moments to look like the fool.
The action scenes in Red Notice are, overall, very well executed. You can tell Netflix didn’t produce the film themselves but acquired it from another studio as they put in some money here! The action scenes are generally well choreographed and planned out. I will point out the lack of shaky cam during the fights, which is always a good thing. There are some moments when you can tell they used some CGI trickery instead of actual action setpieces and stuntwork. So, while Red Notice has a sizable budget, they still scrimped on some stuff… which is so Netflix if you really think about it.
Unfortunately, despite the action looking good on average, there’s just no tension in them. You never really feel like any of the main characters are in any real danger or something bad is going to happen to them. That’s generally fine because there are so many action movies, especially in the ’80s and the ’90s where you know the hero is going to get out of the predicament somehow. The problem in Red Notice is that you know they’ll not only get out of it but they’ll get out of it without a scratch on them! You just know they won’t even be hurt by anything that’s happening to them and, because of that, all of those hard bumps, explosions, bullets whizzing by doesn’t mean anything. It comes off as just window dressing. More sizzle to the steak, so to speak.
But the biggest issue of Red Notice is basically the plot and overall story. It’s a movie that thinks it’s super clever but is really dumber than it realizes. Things happen mostly because of convenience but it tries to disguise these moments as clever writing that’s been planned out from the beginning. Not only that, there are several times when they even try to explain these convenience using a quick blurb and it just doesn’t satisfy. Because of this, a lot of the events just destroys immersion because of how convenient things are for either our heroes or the ones chasing our heroes. I can’t help but think Red Notice would be a lot better if they did another rewrite or two.
It does sound like I’m knocking Red Notice down hard and I am. But here’s the thing: it’s on Netflix. It’s basically something I use a lot of and it feels like any new stuff on it feels like a bonus. Because of this fact, I don’t really feel I wasted almost two hours of my life watching it. I just watched it because it was new on Netflix. Now, if I went to the movie theater and paid good money to watch it, then I would be much more harsh on it. Red Notice would be a waste of time if it was exclusive in theaters only and I would tell you to not spend your hard earned cash on Red Notice and just wait for it to come out on Netflix. Kinda ironic if you think about it.
Have you seen Red Notice? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!