Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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‘Red Notice’ outshines most big-budget counterparts with its wit, style – Movie Review

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By Troy Ribeiro

Film: ‘Red Notice’ (Streaming on Netflix). Duration: 118 minutes.

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber. Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulc and Ivan Mbakop.; Rating: ***

A ‘Red Notice’ is a warrant issued by the Interpol (International Criminal Police Organisation) that alerts the police forces of its member-states about internationally wanted fugitives. This film, a light, breezy action-comedy, is a cat-and-mouse chase between the Interpol, assisted by FBI’s top profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), and high-profile art thieves.

At the very beginning, we are informed about how the three bejewelled eggs of the famed Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, which were given to her by her Roman lover Mark Anthony, had resurfaced and that thieves were out to get them.

The first egg is in a museum in Rome, the second in the private collection of a businessman, and the third is rumoured to be missing.

The narrative opens with Inspector Das (Ritu Arya) of the Interpol, along with John Hartley, crashing into the museum in Rome to check out the displayed bejewelled egg, which they are sure is the target of the heist planned by “the most wanted art thief in the world” — The Bishop (Gal Gadot). But, after realising that the displayed egg in the museum is a fake, Hartley spots another art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) on the premises and chases him till he partners him till they reach The Bishop.

The high-flying adventure that ensues takes them to Rome, Bali, Russia, Valencia in Spain, and Cairo. They cross paths across dance floors, trapped in a secluded prison and in the jungle, but the worst of all is being in the constant company of each other.

Sounds predictable? It is. Sounds boring? For the most part, it’s not. The film thoroughly outshines most of its big-budget counterparts with its wit and style.

While the basic plot is pretty standard, cops-and-thieves fare, with the usual twists and turns, two features set it apart. The first is the humour, which is loaded with double-entendres, especially Reynold’s dry wisecracks, which run throughout. The second is that the leading quartet of actors here seem to be having a good time and, as a result, so does the audience.

Even though the script is formulaic, the action and the comedy frequently work here because of the characters and their shared chemistry. Johnson and Reynolds are both charming in their own ways, and the occasionally good action and comic scenes between them keep you glued to the screen.

British actress Ritu Arya as Inspector Das, ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot as The Bishop, and Chris Diamantopoulc as the International arms dealer Sotto Voce are impressive during their moment of on-screen glory.

It is only in the final act that the narrative loses balance. It appears to be a bit frivolous and forced. (Agency)

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