‘Red Notice’ movie review: Formula followed right

Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot star in a heist thriller that is fun in an undemanding way

Gosh, this movie has everything — adventure, travel, high art, good-looking leads, action, a masquerade ball and a villain named… Sotto Voce (really!). While Dwayne Johnson seems slightly miscast as FBI profiler John Hartley, (his shoulders are a tad too large for that tux), Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot as art thieves, Nolan Booth and The Bishop, are a cinch for their roles.

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Gadot, as always, looks lovely and glides along putting the blundering men firmly in their place. Reynolds has all the pop culture polluting lines, which almost seem too meta for their own good, such as, “look for a box that says MacGuffin” or “move past the featured extras” and whistling the Raiders March. His mention of Vin Diesel’s audition tape for Cats was funny though.

Red Notice

  • Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ritu Arya
  • Story line: What happens when the greatest art thieves meet a fabulous treasure
  • Run time: 118 minutes

The movie opens with the story of Cleopatra’s eggs — bejewelled and nothing to do with IVF. Mark Anthony gave the canny Egyptian queen three of these at their wedding (why can I not get Liz Taylor and Richard Burton out of my head?). In the present, one of the eggs is at a museum in Italy while the other is with the arms dealer, Sotto Voce (Chris Diamantopoulos) in Valencia.

The third egg is lost in the sands of time. When a fond father, with more money than sense, offers a king’s ransom for the three eggs as a wedding present for his daughter, Cleopatra (sigh), it sends top art thieves, Booth and Bishop, on a transcontinental race of bluff and double bluff. Inspector Das (Ritu Arya) of the Interpol is hot on the heels of the thieves.

Red Notice is fun in an undemanding way. There is the masquerade ball, a bull fight, the Mission-Impossible style breaking and entering of secure vaults and the glamourous locations — even the prisons look nice. An auction would have completed the pretty if shallow picture, which might just be the pill for these demanding times.

Red Notice is streaming on Netflix from November 12


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