“Red Notice” is “Indiana Jones” without the engaging storyline, charismatic performances and successful humor


Udita Jonnala

Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds headline the cast of Red Notice, which results in a poorly-executed, conglomerate of previous treasure-hunting movies.

Rishvanth (Rishi) Ramesh, Photography Editor

Rawson Marshall Thurber’s movie “Red Notice” immediately drew in attention when the film was unveiled to the public. An A-list cast? Check. Gigantic budget? Check. Exotic locations with high-octane action sequences? Check. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot headline the movie and brought a budget of $200 million with them, making this movie the most costly in Netflix history. The movie was released in theaters on Nov. 5, 2021, and was released on Netflix a week later on Nov. 12.

“Red Notice” follows astute FBI agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and facetious art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) as they team up to stop another con, The Bishop (Gal Gadot), from getting her hands on the last of Cleopatra’s three priceless eggs. The movie takes viewers on a global tour, including scenes shot in Rome, Italy, France, and other locations.

The movie begins with a narration of the history of Cleopatra’s highly coveted eggs and how they found themselves in various corners of the world, quickly setting up the heroic introduction of Hartley, who arrives to save one of the eggs from Booth in the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. This sets up the standard buddy-comedy dynamic consisting of the muscular, serious Hartley having to begrudgingly partner with the quip-filled, fast-talking Booth.

Thurber uses the lead trio as a crutch by hoping their charisma can shoulder the weight of the nonexistent plot.

Right off the bat, it’s clear that the movie will waste no time getting the ball rolling and wants to immerse viewers in adrenaline-pumping action scenes, which is shown by Hartley chasing and stumbling after the shifty Booth, breaking multiple museum windows in the process. 

While “Red Notice”’ delivers on its promise of action, its plot is where it falls flat. The storyline of “Red Notice ”’ is rushed, like the director simply wanted to get the movie over with. The lead pair of Booth and Hartley travel through different locations around the world as if they have the ability to teleport, going from Vocce’s cellar to a bull fight to a South American forest in a matter of mere seconds. This makes the movie feel out of sync and hurried, giving watchers no time to take notice of the settings of the scenes.

Thurber uses the lead trio as a crutch by hoping their charisma can shoulder the weight of the nonexistent plot. Reynolds is wasted in his role as the talkative, charismatic sidekick of Hartley – reduced to a character meant to serve as the comedic relief by continuously spewing somewhat-funny remarks. Johnson’s characterization is also nothing unique from his other movies, the hard-headed strongman looking for a chance to poke fun at his wimpy counterpart. Gadot as the lead duo’s main villain is alluring and mysterious, albeit providing nothing substantial, and one can’t help but think that her talents were wasted.

Despite being a highly-bankrolled film, there’s nothing visually eye-popping in the movie. The CGI bull that the pair has to deal with is poorly animated and the backdrops around the world look plastic. If there were an engaging storyline, these technical inconsistencies could have been looked past, but unfortunately, that’s not present in this case either.

Thurber has publicly stated that he wishes to film two sequels back-to-back, and we’re yet to see whether the sequel will receive as much hype as its predecessor. We can hope that the following movies have better storylines and fully utilize their lead actors, but if the crew wants to replicate “Red Notice,” expectations should stay low.

Despite being filled to the brim with con men and women, the only thing that “Red Notice” steals is your patience and time and it’s disappointing to see that this was the end product of Netflix’s most expensive film. All in all, the only “Red Notice” that viewers should be watching out for is a big, red stop sign.