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The Star-Studded Red Notice Showcases Netflix’s Blockbuster Ambitions

$200 million can buy you a lot of things, in the hands of Netflix it has bought the star-studded Dwayne Johnson vehicle Red Notice. A film that loudly announces Netflix growing blockbuster ambitions. 

A good old fashioned action movie with a side of…well pretty much everything, Red Notice pairs the great (and very profitable) one’s FBI profiler John Hartley with Ryan Reynolds art thief Nolan Booth in an inspired odd-couple pairing as they find themselves caught in the middle of a daring heist by the world’s most wanted art thief, Gal Gadot’s “The Bishop,” whose thievery has earned her the films titular ‘red notice’ from Interpol.

That’s right, the star power behind Luke Hobbs, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman are at the disposal of writer/director Rowan Marshall Thurber, a man whose credits include previous  Johnson action vehicles Central Intelligence and Skyscraper. Unsurprisingly Thurber does what he knows how to do best, pitting the trio in an explosive high stakes game of cat and mouse (and cat), as they traverse the globe, one action-packed cinematic sequence at a time.

Joining them in this bold composite heist-buddy cup-action movie along the way are, Rita Arya (Lila Pitt in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Russ Hanneman in Silicon Valley) who feature in prominent roles as the film sweeps between stylized sets including a secluded prison, the dancefloor and a place Johnson has proven himself quite adept in his cinematic past, the jungle. The result of all this intermingling is electric chemistry between the stars as the characters they portray go out of their way to ultimately look out for themselves and themselves alone.

With Reynolds and Johnson in the cast, there is of course room for comedic relief, and there are some genuinely great laughs to be had here from both (including what is sure to be a much-discussed dig at Vin Diesel), and there’s just a touch of titillating sexual chemistry between Johnson and Gadot, as Red Notice goes casually about its business of being a film fit to work for more or less everyone.

Produced by Hiram Garcia, Johnson, and Danny Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions (Jumanji: The Next Level, Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw, Furious 7), Beau Flynn’s Flynn Picture Co (San Andreas, Rampage, Skyscraper), and Thurber’s Bad Version, Inc three production houses who know how to deliver bang for Netflix’s buck, Red Notice presents as prime fodder for the full theatre-going experience.

There’s no denying its theatrical run is befitting of the film’s obvious blockbuster ambitions and viewers should do themselves a favor and experience it first hand, in cinemas. 

Still, it is also likely to thrive on the streaming platform, which makes its budget, casting, and overall vibe a potentially curious test case for the future of the action blockbuster. If it works, could this release pattern become the norm for outsized films of this nature in the post COVID world? Whatever the outcome of this hypothetical proves to be, there is no mistaking that Red Notice is a statement of intent from Netflix. Its seemingly inevitable success could very well go on to be a gamechanger.  

As viewers though, ultimately all we need to concern ourselves with is the quality of the movies we are being presented. If what is delivered with Red Notice, is any indication of not just the scope of Netflix’s blockbuster ambition, but of their ability to deliver upon it, then the future is looking pretty bright for films of this type. 

Whether you’re settling into your cinema seat or your recliner at home, fetch some popcorn and let Red Notice immerse you in its explosive, weaponized, familiar, starry glow. 

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