By Jana Monji, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Writer
Hollywood’s favorite AAPI man, Samoan hapa Dwayne Johnson, returns as an FBI profiler hot on the trail of two top and highly competitive art thieves in Red Notice.
According to the film, a red notice is the highest global alert that Interpol can issue and Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) and The Bishop (Gal Gadot), are at the top of the list. Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice is a lightweight romp that relies heavily on the easy chemistry between its three stars.
The setup for Red Notice is that the love between the ill-fated Anthony and Cleopatra involved an exchange of expensive presents including three enormous gold and bejeweled eggs. The eggs were discovered in 1907 by archeologists, but in the present-day, the location of only two of the eggs is known. The first is in a museum exhibit in Rome. The second is in a private collection. The third is lost, or is it?
FBI profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) goes solo to Rome to team with Inspector Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya), warning her that his contact, The Bishop (aka Sarah Black, the number one art thief in the world), has informed him that Nolan Booth, the second-best art thief, will be stealing the egg. They charge into a museum where the inspector warns Hartley he has no jurisdiction in Europe so “no American cowboy stuff,” but luckily, Harley has left his chaps at home.
Hartley has profiled Nolan, the son of a Swiss cop. Nolan is always trying to prove he is worthy of his father’s love. It’s not the money, but the notoriety that he craves. Hartley is the opposite: His father was a con man and he learned how to read people like a Kindle.
Once in the museum, Hartley demonstrates to the Inspector that the egg has already been stolen but Nolan is still in the museum. Hartley almost captures Nolan, but a few months later, Hartley accosts Nolan at Nolan’s beachside home in Bali. Hartley might not have authority in Bali, but Interpol does. The inspector and her squad of masked goons take Nolan back to Europe, but both Hartley and Nolan end up imprisoned: The inspector can’t verify Hartley’s credentials when a call to the FBI informs her there is no Hartley.
Hartley becomes roomies with Nolan in a Russian prison on top of a steep icy mountain. The two men soon learn they were brought together by The Bishop who arranged to have the inspector’s call intercepted in order to place Hartley with Nolan. Determined to clear his name, Hartley is forced to team up with Nolan to escape, steal the two eggs and capture The Bishop. Why does the number one art thief need the number two art thief at all? Nolan knows the location of the third egg. She’s betting that Nolan will bond with Hartley and Hartley will be his weak point.
There will be more globetrotting, a tango between The Rock and The Bishop which will not pass for good tango anywhere. In between, there will be fights, stunts, and witty banter. This is a slightly over-the-top action comedy film that doesn’t mean to wow you with the stunts or the acting or the CGI although it has just enough of all three of those things. Rather, this breezy comedy simply aims to amuse with charming rascals involved an affable yarn about high-living art thieves. The chemistry between Johnson, Gadot and Reynolds is easy-going and I hope there will be sequels.
Red Notice opens today, November 5, 2021, in theaters and will begin streaming on Netflix on November 12, 2021.
*There are no mid-credits or post-credits scenes but a small voice-over by Gadot at the end of the credits.
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