Red Notice is a long-awaited collaboration between Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot, with an enthralling trailer.
The film pitched the cinephiles once-in-a-lifetime adventure, a roller coaster ride that would leave the audience gasping for air due to the film's high dose of adrenaline, burning choppers and wild bulls in an arena.
Instead of that, it's a derivative and ugly jumble, attempting to strike a balance between a quick pace and smart twists but never accomplishing either.
Netflix's latest blockbuster, which is dripping with CGI and feels as though it was scripted by one of those AI-trained bots—this one having been digested countless hours of lifeless, money-wasting heist films.
The film follows FBI criminal profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) as he strives to apprehend Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds), one of the world's most infamous art thieves, on a mission to steal Cleopatra's famed dazzling eggs.
However, the two are outwitted by femme fatale art thief The Bishop (Gal Gadot) and are imprisoned as she tries to steal the eggs for herself. What does this mean for the duo? Of course, they have to sneak out of prison and seize the artefacts for themselves.
Writer-director Marshall Thurber packed so many winks, nudges, stunts, and twists into the film that the enchantment eventually oozes out, leaving just weariness behind.
When the three protagonists are in the same room, one has to wonder whether they've ever been in the same room before. In fact, their noticeable lack of chemistry leads the audience to believe that their moments are a mash-up of three actors from different studios.
Gadot's obvious lack of comic timing conflicts with Reynolds' ability in that area, and Johnson and Reynolds appear only mildly invested in one another, making the film's quasi-buddy-cop undertone difficult to sell.
However, the audience's ennui is not the only outcome of this lack of magnetism. The fact that Thurber manages to convert these famous stars into charisma vacuums by turning them into tedious set pieces, much like the film's improbable Nazi bunker or its CGI bull, is maybe what makes Red Notice so brilliant.
Thurber appears to be at least somewhat concerned in fleshing out his characters by granting them an emotional dimension. Nolan frequently comes close to cracking the fourth wall, making smart quips about residing within a pastiche while cringing partially. The plot of John and Nolan sharing daddy issues is as boring as an insurance ad.
Thurber makes the decision to shoot the film in widescreen, implying that the action would span from corner to corner and set pieces will be enormous and spectacular.
Instead, everything keeps within the lines, the movements are slow and no genre preconceptions are defied.
Worryingly, the thing that Netflix jumped to the conclusion that this will draw the masses in a soulless, inauthentic movie with three great stars at their most lifeless versions, is ultimately what will strike a chord with society the most.