Conner’s Critiques: Just because “Red Notice” is a spy movie, doesn’t mean it’s good


Credit: Netflix

Conner McBride, Staff Writer

“Red Notice” is proof that just because you have great actors, does not mean you’ll have a great movie.

“Red Notice” is one of Netflix’s newer movies having only come out on November 5 of this year, starring Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The movie feels very forgettable, like that feeling when your teacher is trying to teach a lesson and you zone out, and the next thing you know the bell is ringing.

Ryan Reynolds plays the character Nolan Booth, a famous art thief constantly in competition with another art thief Bishop, played by Gal Gadot. Booth teams up with Behavioral Analysis Unit agent John Hartley in order to catch Bishop as they all race for Cleopatra’s treasure which was gifted to her on her wedding day by her lover, Mark Antony. 

The treasure is 3 golden eggs each held in different locations: one at a museum, one auctioned away, and one whose whereabouts is unknown. 

First of all, the movie feels rushed. All of the scenes felt like they were compressed when they could have been drawn out. 

In the very first scene, Booth is creating a fake egg to stand in for the real one. More detail could have gone into showcasing how the fake egg was made instead of just a few quick scenes before jumping directly into the action. For example, showing a little more of how exactly Nolan Booth replaces the fake egg for the one in the museum would have been nice.

Booth reminds me a lot of his character in the Marvel film “Deadpool,” always cracking witty jokes in an attempt to keep the situations light. While it works in the Marvel movies, in “Red Notice” it falls flat. The jokes aren’t that funny. Only one of them is laughable, and they are placed at the wrong time. 

While Booth is too light-hearted, Hartley is too serious. He has the opportunity to let loose a little as time goes on and doesn’t need to keep up the whole “stern secret agent” act the whole time. That could’ve also been a reason why Reynolds’ jokes fall flat in this because while he is lighthearted and goofy, Johnson is too stoic. 

Johnsons’ character, BAU agent John Hartley, is very cliched with the whole ‘I know your entire backstory and why you do what you do’ schtick. If you wanted to watch a show about the BAU, a better choice would be “Criminal Minds.”

Gadot’s character is a bit better, but was still off to me. While she plays the role of the female art thief well, some of her one-liners and jokes also fall flat. Her fighting scenes in the movie also felt too choreographed which ruins some of the effect. 

All together these scenarios make for a script that feels wonky, awkward and forced in some places. Along with that, scenes where the characters express their vulnerabilities are awkward and take place at the wrong time. 

The movie is also riddled with cliches, from a long lost treasure, to a cop turned con-man, to eventually teaming up with the enemy in the end to defeat their shared enemy, which already doesn’t pair well with the mostly-unfortunate script. With the jokes made, some of them are wholly unnecessary and could have been swapped out with meaningful dialogue, and some parts of actual dialogue could have been swapped out with jokes or even just straight-up deleted. The ending, however, is surprising, so I’ll give them credit for that.

The movie was so action- packed it is overstimulating. There are only a few short scenes that don’t involve some kind of fighting or death-defying stunt, and by the end of the movie, I had a headache. To be honest all of their fighting scenes are very choreographed, along with that, some of the scenes where characters get knocked out or are woken up from being knocked out  feel very unrealistic. 

For example, in one scene where Bishop is working with her then partner, she backstabs him and slips something into his drink to make him pass out, which takes effect about 2 minutes later. But when he wakes up from passing out, he’s able to easily handle a gun.

The change between scenes and the scene settings themselves are pretty good. The transitions are  visually appealing, which mark the time between the previous scene and the new one, are all in red capital letters with a pattern or design typical to the country that the characters were in at the time. All of the film sets are in very interesting locations from a fancily-decorated mansion to a jungle deep in Argentina. 

The costumes and the SFX makeup for this movie is all also very well done, from the prison uniforms that Booth and Hartley characters wear, to the dress Gadot is wearing in the party scene. The costumes along with the makeup add some depth which the fighting scenes lack.

There are so many better spy or thief movies to watch than this one: any James Bond movie and both “Ocean’s 8” and “Ocean’s 11” are better. “Nut Job,” the movie about squirrels sneaking into a nut shop would be more appealing to me. 

So all in all, would I sit down and willingly choose to watch this movie? Most likely not, but if it was playing on the TV, I wouldn’t mind having it as background noise.