This film would appear to have all the right ingredients for a franchise-ready adventure, yet something's notably off when the pieces are mixed together. Red Notice looks slick and boasts attractive A-list actors pulling fantastic stunts in gorgeous locations around the globe. It will find its audience.
Gal Gadot is charmingly sadistic as the stunning and fierce Bishop, and she has a scene where she beats both her buff costars to a pulp. Dwayne Johnson plays straight man to Ryan Reynolds' tongue-in-cheek bad boy. But Reynolds' ironic one-liners come across as cloying, and his character grates on the nerves within minutes of the opening scene.
There are a few very funny moments in the film, like a Russian guard liking a shirtless Putin pic on Instagram or when Reynolds asks Johnson's character if he knows the back of his head looks like a giant male member, but mostly the banter is more obvious than amusing.
Why bother with so many international locations if the production is going to rely on stereotypes (bullfighting in Spain) and only the best-known landmarks (pyramids in Cairo, Louvre in Paris)?
Similarly, the script seems to have a constant need to over-explain things. Characters detail exactly what's just happened or is about to, in case you didn't quite get it. Gadot starts one such explanation with, "At the risk of stating the obvious," then goes on to do just that. Granted, in some cases they're lying, but it still slows (and dumbs) the action down in the moment.
There's a scene where Reynolds is wearing an explorer's outfit and hat while he and Johnson crack into a Nazi crypt. The reference is obvious, but the direction still has Reynolds whistle the Indiana Jones theme song.
It's as if the filmmakers don't trust us to get their references or their story points. But underestimating your audience can be insulting, and a few unanswered questions aren't always a bad thing.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.