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An interpol agent is grudgingly pulled down the rabbit hole of high-end art thievery. What he needs to get out of his pickle? A little help from a friend and finding Cleopatra’s three golden eggs of ancient lore–seriously.
Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story). Producers include Thurber and Beau Flynn (Jungle Cruise). Dwayne Johnson (Rampage, Jungle Cruise) both produces and stars, and is joined by co-stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Ritu Arya (The Umbrella Academy).
I knew I would love this movie as soon as it opened with an Ancient Aliens spoof and closed with Biggie’s “Notorious B.I.G.” Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, portraying a cop and an art thief, respectively, merely saw it through. They played the “unwilling partners in crime” trope to perfection. Just think Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.–on a cheaper budget.
The story follows INTERPOL criminal profiler (or is he?) John Hartley and art thief extraordinaire Nolan Booth, who are unwittingly thrown together in search of some priceless and ancient artifacts. But it was such a treat that the film added more than a few twists to keep us still on our toes in a very tired genre. (Let’s just say there are double, triple, and quadruple agents that you won’t be able to guess.) Things may get a little too far-fetched for some people’s liking, such as how the pair end up somehow, someway in a bull-fighting ring or that a cop is seemingly willing to shoot at other cops. But in my view, it’s all part of the Dwayne Johnson experience: grandiose silliness that finds a way to work.
Truthfully, though, the flick probably wouldn’t have been quite as enjoyable without Ryan Reynolds’ signature deadpan humor and the snappy dialogue. To whittle it down to the one best delivery line is, sincerely, very difficult because it is non-stop. But I’ll have to go with Booth saying that the back of The Rock’s head looks like a “huge penis.” The Rock goes tit-for-tat with him, with his typical broad confidence and resurrected black turtleneck. All in all, their comedic charms are just as good as any duo, but another close comparison would be Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. And, as an added bonus, villainy looks real good on Gal Gadot as “The Bishop.”
You go for The Rock’s charismatic winks and buff poise, but you stay watching Red Notice for Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool as an art thief. Add in a pinch of Indiana Jones action and Wonder Woman-turned-villainous, and we have a surprising hit on our hands.
It is more of a rom-com in actuality, where the two leads just happened to be two men bonding over their daddy issues. Works perfectly for the audience niche of buddies or lovers on a fun date night. Regardless, if the idea of Jungle Cruise being made into its better self sounds appealing, then you will love it.
Red Notice marks Dwayne Johnson’s third collaboration with Rawson Marshall Thurber, who also directed Central Intelligence (2016) and Skyscraper (2018). Also, fun fact: Ed Sheeran has a hilarious cameo as himself.