Red Notice is just another Green notice for the Ryan Reynolds brand of fun

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Red Notice is just another Green notice for the Ryan Reynolds brand of fun

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Ever since Deadpool first came out, Ryan Reynolds has played the character even in real life. In the history of cinema itself, no character has probably taken over the real life of a man, who once featured in the catastrophic The Green Lantern – now an idiomatic reference to measure bad filmmaking against. Reynolds has since gone on to establish his own unique place, not just as actor, but as a talking-walking character that really, just changes clothes between gigs.

To be honest this delightfully cocky and loose-tongued version of Reynolds is a joy in the face of actors and characters, who simply take themselves too seriously; people who sit in on interviews for something as archaically predictable as a Marvel film and ceaselessly talk script/craft as if it is the first box on the list. Though Red Notice, a huge, globetrotting production by Netflix features three of Hollywood’s biggest stars, it’s really Reynolds who owns and perhaps shoulders it with signature crassness, and some of the wittiest meta-jokes around.

To be honest this delightfully cocky and loose-tongued version of Reynolds is a joy in the face of actors and characters, who simply take themselves too seriously

Red Notice is about two ‘Art Thieves’ who are competing to get to the last remaining ‘Cleopatra egg’. Dwayne Johnson plays an FBI profiler who gets caught in the middle and must, hesitantly, for the nth time act as the voice of reason and law, only to be convinced otherwise. I’m not even sure if his character arc from the Fast and Furious films receives any sort of update in this. He is however still, charming for the nth time.

There is something untraceably magnetic about this wall of a man that is simply so alluring. No wonder he is the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, even his do-overs are fun to be part of. Third on this list of star turns is Gal Gadot, who simply isn’t allowed a lot of meat to chew in this except make sudden, unexpected entries and exits, and look sensationally hot while doing it. It’s the Rock-n-Reynolds vehicle all along and even though the character types are typical – Reynolds talks, while the Rock punches stuff – there is something affable about it all.

Big budget action films are made a dime-a-dozen and not too long ago Reynolds was part of the un-ironic, and strangely stiff 6 Underground (a Michael Bay explosion course with actors and dialogues). The premise is predictably ludicrous, enough to hook one scene to the other, but bland and inconsequential enough to recede to the background when the actors turn on their charms. On the face of it, it is hilarious that cinema still wants everyone to think people in this day and age still want to steal art and not data or hack some influencer’s Instagram account. Try getting someone into a gallery for a change, that would be the real heist. The egg, for that matter could be anything, a long lost dog bone, a dinosaur tooth, for its value is inconsequential to the status quo between our protagonists. Their egos – as much as in the world of celluloid as off it – suffice as creators of required friction.

On the face of it, it is hilarious that cinema still wants everyone to think people in this day and age still want to steal art and not data or hack some influencer’s Instagram account.

Even though Gadot has a certain sensual grace about her and the Rock’s stolid charms remain intact, Red Notice is about the loquacious Ryan Reynolds, the clever-talking yet lonely thief. He cracks jokes at inopportune times, has a self-effacing sense of humour and isn’t afraid to diminish himself in front of others to get that chuckle out of you. The meta-humour – there are some hilarious plugs for Alexa and Vin Diesel – is cheeky and somewhat brave too, considering this is in the end, a film for stars by stars (produced by Dwayne Johnson). The film makes some convenient jumps, both across continents and narrative, and is at times, oversells the bond between Johnson and Reynolds. But the two have instant chemistry, and like Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour films they prove each other’s reflection in the things that concern them the most.

Like any other big-budget, action caper, it is pointless to explore Red Notice beyond its bare essentials. It isn’t for the purists, nor does it take itself seriously to the point of being devoid of irony. In one scene Reynolds tells Johnson “the back of your head looks like a dick”. It’s welcome, in a sense, that some of Deadpool’s crude humour has been imported to the relatively straightjacketed world of big name filmmaking. And even though the Reynolds and Rock chemistry sticks and makes a safe landing, the film is just another proof that there is no such thing as too much Ryan Reynolds. At least not yet.

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