Why Red Notice’s Reviews Are So Bad
Red Notice reviews have been mostly bad, lamenting how such popular actors and a successful formula could produce something so lifeless.
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Ahead of its Netflix release, the reviews for Red Notice have been decisively negative, with only a 44 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Though critical consensus doesn’t always translate to a movie’s box office or streaming success, this early response does not bode well for what is reportedly Netflix’s most expensive original production. With a budget of over $160 million, Red Notice reviewers have largely been wondering what all of that money was actually spent on.
At first glance, the Red Notice film possesses many winning elements that should have worked. The Netflix blockbuster stars well-liked and big names in Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, who all fight to be the first to locate bejeweled eggs that have been scattered around the world. However, while Red Notice was inspired by popular heist movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure, it ultimately lacks what made those films so successful.
Many critics lament where Red Notice goes wrong, questioning how a movie with such popular actors and a tried and true formula could produce something so lifeless. It would likely have been better praised if it took more risks, since the final product simply repeats many of the story beats that have been done before. Here’s what some of the Red Notice reviews are saying:
“Filled with an excess of everything (including, weirdly, Paul Hollywood), and clearly terrified of taking even the smallest of risks, it’s a $200 million blockbuster buffet aimed at anyone and everyone.”
“So concerned with knitting together a mess of double-crosses and false endings that it loses the propulsive drive and excitement of the films it imitates.”
“Alas, writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber … just doesn’t know when to quit. The winks, the nudges, the stunts and the surprises come in such a barrage that at some point the charm leaks out of ‘Red Notice,’ leaving only exhaustion behind.”
“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.”
“This action caper is less a film than a collection of buzzwords.”
These Red Notice reviews make it clear that the film is far more concerned with dazzling audiences with more of everything—more humor, more fast-paced action, and more star power—than with creating a compelling narrative. Inspired by other heist films and buddy comedies, Red Notice does nothing to stand out from what it imitates. Director Thurber has created other action flicks with Johnson before, like Central Intelligence and the movie Skyscraper, but here he seems less sure of how much is too much. Johnson, Reynolds, and Gadot’s charms oddly end up not working as well together on screen as they should have, despite how much the movie clearly depended on their chemistry. Either the plot is far too thin for even the leads’ charisma to overcome, or the actors have simply grown tired of playing the same old roles. Yet, despite the negativity of most of the reviews, some do note areas in which Red Notice holds its own:
“Ultimately, anyone who enjoys star-driven action movies will find something to like about Red Notice.”
“You can’t argue with the muscular marquee value of headlining Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in a slick, fast-paced action thriller laced with playful comedy, even if it’s an empty-calorie entertainment like Red Notice.”
“It’s all reasonably clever, so long as you don’t scrutinize it too closely.”
Although many critics argued that Johnson, Reynolds, and Gadot were not given enough to make the Red Notice movie work, some did praise their efforts, claiming their chemistry was able to save the project. Even if it never quite shines, some of the comedy does land, and the action sufficiently draws in willing viewers. For those either not looking for something too serious, or satisfied with a movie that provides fun action sequences and little else, Red Notice is the ideal film.