Photo By: Noah Nickel via Netflix

If you’re looking for a film that digs deeper than lighthearted and silly, Red Notice is not the movie for you. With a star-studded cast of Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Red Notice set high expectations which it falls short of. 

The script consists of stilted, unnatural dialogue that is occasionally broken by Reynolds’ one-liners but is overall too packed with sloppy exposition and one-dimensional characters who are meant to be saved by actors who have a track record of delivering solid performances. The writing tries to be self-aware and comment on tropes of the action-comedy genre, but it is not aware enough to be good. 

The editing is fast, with the camera hardly resting on one shot for more than a couple of seconds, even during dialogue. This is frustrating, especially during action sequences that could have been interesting but instead feel rushed and empty. All of the shots are also too close up; the film rarely uses wide shots, which just doesn’t look very good in an action movie.

The action staging in general feels like a placeholder. The way the characters fight doesn’t tell us anything about them or the progression of their relationship throughout the film and it feels like a wasted opportunity. 

The action of the film is generally cartoonish, and the dialogue feels as though it was written by someone who hasn’t talked to another human being in a while. Most of the jokes don’t land, and the film has fallen into the trap of casting Reynolds’ as the funny quippy man and hoping that that will be enough to make the audience care about him (spoiler alert, it’s not). To give Reynolds credit where credit is due, most of the best lines in the film seem as though he ad-libbed them, and since Johnson reacted in character, they made it into the final version of the film. 

Most of the writing relies on telling the audience rather than showing them. This is a huge problem for an action movie where audiences expect the plot to be moved forward by…action. As a light goofy movie to put on with friends and not pay attention to, it works, but there are lots of better options out there even if you don’t plan on paying attention. 

The characters are one dimensional and not particularly interesting. It feels as though their backstories were tacked-on as an afterthought to make the audience care more but they don’t behave in any sort of consistent or compelling way and they aren’t defined in the writing beyond basic character traits like “strong,” “smart,” “witty,” and “attractive.”

With the best part of this movie arguably being a short Ed Sheeran cameo, you know that the filmmakers wasted their $200 million budget and star studded, a-list cast. Red Notice is an easy skip.