Red Notice – review

Brief synopsis: An art thief plans to steal a collection of three ancient, jewelled, eggs. He is tracked by a tenacious Interpol agent and an FBI behavioural specialist. 

He is not the only thief after the eggs. Another thief is tasked with retrieving the eggs by a Saudi billionaire. He wants to give them to his daughter as a wedding gift. 

Is it any good?: Red Notice is watchable and if you like any of the stars, you might even enjoy it. It is not a good film. It is a mishmash of Raiders of the Lost Ark, National Treasure and The Pink Panther but fails to reach even half the heights of those films.

At just under two hours, it is a little overlong. Red Notice is just okay. Throwing up no surprises whatsoever, Red Notice is a brain in neutral watch, that you put on in the background whilst doing something else.

Spoiler Territory: the film opens, telling us the story of three ornate jewelled eggs that were created for Cleopatra. The whereabouts of two of the eggs is known. One is in an art museum, the other in the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. The third eggs location is only known by one person, art thief, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds).

Inspector Urvashi Das (Ritu Aryu) heads an Interpol unit that is after Nolan. She is being assisted by FBI agent, John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson).

One of the eggs, which is on display in a museum in Rome, is a target. They get to the museum and the egg is on display. John is sure that the egg is not real, pouring cola onto the exhibit. 

The egg dissolves when hit by the fizzy liquid. John sees Nolan in the room and gives chase, even as the museum security try to lockdown the room. 

Nolan is chased by multiple security personnel, managing to evade and injure many of them in the process. Like any episode of that eighties classic show, The A-Team, not one of them is seriously injured. 

This is a pattern in the film. Bullets fly, there are falls from great heights, explosions, crashes and fisticuffs. All result in minor injuries, not one death or incapacitation. 

Unsurprisingly, Nolan escapes, even with John in pursuit. John does manage to get a nice Porsche product placement in, the Taycan he commandeers being crashed into, moments after he gets into it. 

Nolan takes his booty to his Bali – there is a real Bond-esque desire to include as many locations as possible in this film – retreat. He is quickly apprehended by John and Das and her team. 

They arrest him and Das gives John the egg to look after. Nolan wants to know how they found him. A tip-off from the elusive thief, the Bishop.

John hands the egg to a masked female Interpol agent. The agent steals the egg unbeknownst to John. The next evening, Das comes and arrest John. Nobody knows him at the FBI. He gets sent to a prison in Russia. His roommate is Nolan. 

He tells Nolan that he was set up by the Bishop. He does not know why, especially as no one knows where the third egg is. Nolan gets John beat up by revealing he is a cop. 

The Bishop (Gal Gadot) comes to visit John and Nolan. She tells Nolan that she knows that he knows where the third egg is. She tells John, that she set him up. She is there to make a deal with Nolan. 

She will get them out if he tells her the location of the egg plus ten percent of her fee for the theft. Nolan rejects the deal. Later, John says they need to escape and capture the Bishop. The two bond over their similar upbringing and relationships with estranged fathers. 

They escape the prison. Bullets fly, rocket launchers are fired, explosions. No deaths. They need to head to a masquerade party being held by Soto Voce (Chris Diamantopoulos), the arms dealer. The party is in Spain. 

The Bishop breaks into the Interpol offices – yes she does – and sends Das a message, telling her that John and Nolan have escaped. 

Nolan explains the elaborate security system Soto employs. They need to avoid cameras. They also must get hold of an ever-changing passcode that can only be found in Soto’s phone. There is voice and facial recognition software, plus the heavily armed guards. They arrive in Valencia and go to the party. 

John sees The Bishop and goes after her. The two have some verbal sparring and dance before being interrupted on the dance floor by Soto. The Bishop is in partnership with Soto. John steals Soto’s mobile phone. Das is also at the party. Soto makes a speech at the party. 

John and Nolan take the opportunity to go and steal the egg. As they get to the egg, The Bishop is waiting for them. She tells them there was an easier way to get into the room. She fights and overcomes both men. Soto and his security come into the vault, alerted by the door having been opened. 

Soto ties up the two men under a bull ring. The Bishop joins him and tortures John to get information out of Nolan. She wants to know where the third egg is. Soto, impatient for the information, chokes John. Nolan tells them the egg is in Egypt. 

The Bishop drugs Soto and leaves with the egg. John and Nolan escape into the bull ring. John gets hit by the bull. Haha haha. He is okay. A-Team violence remember. Nolan lied to them. The egg is in Argentina. It was hidden in a vault that the Germans had during the war. They head to the Argentinian jungle. 

They find the vault. The Bishop finds them. Das has followed the Bishop. The Bishop, John and Nolan join forces to escape Das and her team. There is another product placement with a rare Mercedes making an appearance. 

They escape Das. John reveals his relationship with The Bishop. They are both the Bishop, working as a partnership. They take the egg and leave Nolan. 

They head to Cairo to deliver all three eggs to the billionaire. Das turns up at the wedding party and arrests the billionaire and his daughter for having Nazi loot. John and The Bishop escape again. A little while later, they are in Sardinia enjoying their life. 

Nolan interrupts their joy. He has told Das about their off-shore account and all their assets have been frozen. What does he want? There is another job that needs three thieves. The end. 

Final thoughts: Red Notice is a lazy star vehicle, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber entirely around Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds popularity. 

Gal Gadot has enough star power and beauty not to be overshadowed by the two men, neither of whom are required to get out of second gear in their respective personas. 

Thurber’s script has a few gems, allowing Reynolds, especially, to bring his acerbic wit to proceedings. It is not as clever as he would like it to be and there are too many unnecessary scenes in the film. 

The constant changing of locations served no purpose except for increasing the use of studio green screen and editorial title cards. The film is competently directed and bumps along at a good pace. Unfortunately, the story is convoluted and takes too much inspiration from better films without bringing anything new. 

Rita Arya, outstanding in The Umbrella Academy, has little to do but scowl and collect her paycheque as the tenacious Das. Chris Diamantopoulos as Soto is such a waste of screen time, one can almost forget he was in the film and I’ve watched it twice!

Red Notice is a moderately amusing, overlong, action-comedy that is a little light on both counts. Watchable but not unmissable.

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