A Comedic Action Film
Red Notice (2021) is an action comedy film written, directed, and produced by Rawson Marshall Thurber. The story follows two international art thieves, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) and The Bishop (Gal Gadot), who are on the hunt to steal three bejeweled eggs, supposedly once owned by Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. When an Egyptian billionaire announces that he is willing to offer a generous amount of money for retrieving the eggs for his daughter’s birthday, the two thieves go head-to-head, hoping to collect all three first. Meanwhile, FBI agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is forced to team up with Nolan to clear his name as a suspect for stealing the first egg.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find action films that perfectly balance the story with the action. Too often, these films fall into the trap of emphasizing the action, causing it to severely lack a coherent plot and leaving viewers bored. But in Red Notice, viewers can expect to find a blend of thrilling action sequences paired with scenes that dedicate time to focus on the characters and their backstories. In one moment, the characters would run from barrages of gunfire and explosions. Then, in another, they would talk about the family trauma they lived with growing up. These downtime moments help the plot flow at a nice, even pace, make a cohesive story, and build the characters’ dimensions to be more believable and humanized. Not only that but also it allows viewers to have enough breathing room so that they are not constantly suffocated with one action scene after another.
It is not too unusual for films to star famous A-list actors, and Red Notice’s small cast is no exception, offering a small but surprising mix of recognizable faces. While mostly marketed as an action film, the banter between Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds’ characters will have viewers cracking up a majority of the time. Johnson’s calm but bold personality pairs well with Reynold’s comedic and witty nature, making for a good cop/sly criminal dynamic that leaves viewers wanting more.
But perhaps the most entertaining performance has to come from Gal Gadot’s Bishop and her interactions with Johnson and Reynolds’ characters. Known mostly to play the heroic role of Wonder Woman, the actress brings an enticing fresh spin as the film’s main antagonist. From leaving charming but threatening comments to Nolan and Hartley to outwitting and betraying them, The Bishop is undoubtedly the most unpredictable and clever of the three. With all three characters mixed into the action, viewers will be surprised at the amount of chaos and unexpected twists that ensue on screen.
The cinematography in this film is also nothing short of remarkable. Several moments offer breathtaking wide-shot views of the various locations. Some examples include aerial shots of Nolan Booth’s beach house in Bali or the famous citadel overlooking the city of Rome. These shots mostly occur whenever a transition is made from one area to another, complete with classy red text that labels the location. Most of the action scenes are filmed with long and medium shots using a stabilizer, allowing for smooth but quick scenes. This style of film also tracks wherever a character goes, which adds another layer of immersion and helps the audience feel as if they are part of the action. Moreover, it helps make the movie more viewer-friendly, as it takes care to limit the amount of shaky, handheld footage.
Another notable aspect of the film is the costume design. Characters often wear suits, flashy blazers, and red dresses, giving an all too admirable luxurious but intense heist aesthetic. There are also a number of costume changes, such as spyware for tense stealth scenes and safari-style outwear for tropical environments. Some fans may also be excited to see Dwayne Johnson donning his classic jungle-style clothing, which tends to be an ongoing bit across many of the films he is in. The large variety of clothing styles found throughout the film helps keep the story exciting, enhances the mood for each setting, and tells a lot about how the characters present themselves.
Overall, Red Notice is a film filled with intense ground-breaking action, hilarious quips, stunning views, and loads of fun character interactions. From gripping chase scenes to lavish dances and dress wear, there is never a moment that will bore the viewer. The action is not too overbearing to the point where it lacks a complete story, but at the same time, the plot does not lean too heavily on events that occur off-screen. This makes the film easy to follow and perhaps even appealing to viewers who are not as drawn to action movies. This might be the perfect option for those looking for a simple action movie with many memorable moments.
Red Notice is streaming now only on Netflix. The film has a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes and is rated PG-13.
Red Notice (2021) Official Netflix Trailer