Rawson Marshall Thurber wrote and directed Red Notice, a 2021 American action comedy film. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot feature in the film.

After Central Intelligence (2016) and Skyscraper (2017), this is Thurber and Johnson’s third collaboration (2018). On July 8, 2019, Netflix purchased the distribution rights of Red Notice that were originally set to be released by Universal Pictures.

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Red Notice will have a limited theatrical release on November 5, 2021, before making its digital premiere on November 12, 2021.

Rawson Marshall On paper, Thurber’s “Red Notice” should function. It has a fascinating ensemble who are whisked across the world on a treasure hunt right out of a “Indiana Jones” film. What could possibly go wrong? For starters, Thurber and everyone else involved completely overlooked the concept of personality. I’ve rarely seen a film that feels more like it was made by a machine, a product for a content algorithm rather than anything resembling creative purpose or even a genuine desire to amuse.

While the Hollywood machine has produced quality blockbusters for generations, it appears that we are increasingly approaching a point where they are so calculated and programmed that the human element has been completely drained from them, rendering them as disposable as a fast food cheeseburger. Worst of all, that “content” approach is sucking the vitality out of performers who had previously exhibited a lot of it. When the poster for “Red Notice” was first revealed, the majority of people complained about how Photoshopped and uninteresting it was. They didn’t understand how well it depicted the film.

Red Notice begins with a clumsily introduced information dump about three prized eggs that were formerly Cleopatra’s property. Only two have been found, turning the missing golden egg into a Holy Grail for treasure hunters such as Nolan Booth, one of the world’s most known criminals (Ryan Reynolds).

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Hartley catches Booth trying to take one of the eggs in the film’s rather successful opening action, accidentally locking the two into a classic buddy comedy dynamic—the muscular man and the quick talker—for the remainder of the film. As they bounce throughout the world, they battle the government, a few bad guys, and another criminal mastermind known as The Bishop (Gal Gadot), all in the hopes of obtaining all three eggs and selling them to the highest bidder.

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Movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “National Treasure” were the clear inspirations on “Red Notice” but to say this film lacks the identity of great action/adventure movies would be an understatement. Thurber’s direction seems to have been simply to put Reynolds, Johnson, and Gadot on camera and allow their screen presence and familiar techniques to carry the story, and one can literally see the weight of that on their shoulders.

Johnson has never been this wooden in his acting career, unable to discover the hero or everyman in a non-character. He needs to figure out what’s next since he appears to be bored with parts like this one, and he’s far too magnetic to express exhaustion in the next phase of his career. Reynolds fared a little better, but you could almost feel his tyre of his smart shtick as more of his attempts at comedy thud than normal.

Everyone seemed to think that casting would be enough to make “Red Notice” appealing, but then they forgot to offer their. Actors nice things to do. There’s a lot of running and chatter, but it all starts to melt together into cinematic paste.

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People have bemoaned the fact that Netflix is increasingly producing content that is intended to be watched with a phone in hand, which was clear when watching “Red Notice.” It’s the iPhone app of action movies, and it cost $200 million to make. None of that money was spent on anything with a human touch.

With jokes and wardrobe changes galore, the action pinballs from London to Spain to Argentina. With costumer Mary E. Vogt (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and production designer Andy Nicholson (“Captain Marvel”) carrying up their end of the bargain, cinematographer Markus Förderer (“The Colony”) gives the needed shine for a film set largely in mansions and museums. These departments also get gold stars for the grandiose South American mine shown in the film’s conclusion (complete with proper adventurous clothes).

There are some incredibly absurd and yet predictable twists, but there isn’t much of a plot here, and it’s certainly not memorable. And, while the landscapes are frequently stunning, they lack individuality. Even the title seems like it was plucked from an Action Film Screenwriter course.

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Red Notice had so much money, so much glitz, so much spectacle, and yet it all adds up to so little. “Red Notice” is about as ephemeral a film as you’ll see this year, with most Netflix users forgetting about it weeks later. In its concluding moments, it sets up a possible franchise (because, of course, it does)—let’s hope everyone involved forgets about it as well.