Red alert does not fool anyone. Those who come today to see the most expensive movie in Netflix history will find a cocktail of superstars, action scenes that defy the rules of logic and endless jokes designed to the millimeter for the show off of Their protagonists: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal gadot. The blockbuster It is not exactly a source of surprises, but at least it is much more attractive and fun than the previous approaches of the platform to large-scale action comedies such as Spenser Confidential, 6 in the shade and Bright.
Those who believe that Johnson and Reynolds are making the same movie over and over again will find little reason here to change their minds. The first has even turned to a director with whom he had already worked in A spy and a half and The skyscraper. Rawson Marshall Thurber is one of those craftsmen without much personality who know how to bend to the needs and desires of someone who has charged 50 million dollars to produce and star Red alert.
The actor formerly known as the Rock plays John Hartley, a criminologist who aspires to arrest two of Interpol’s most wanted criminals: Nolan Booth, a thief with paternal trauma and unable to stop making bad jokes, whatever the context, and the Bishop, a mysterious woman willing to do anything to get a loot valued at 300 million dollars. The rest of the characters (starting with the agent who leads the investigation within the FBI to the villain they play, respectively, Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopoulos) are mere pawns at the service of the three kings of the role.
After visiting each other in Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw and Free guy, Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson finally share the limelight in an adventure that revels in the natural chemistry that arises between two actors as limited in their range as they are charismatic and aware of what his strengths are and what the general public expects to find in his films. More freely goes Gadot, a luxury guest to the party who has a great time leaving behind the nobility and heroism of Wonder woman and betting on a thief who plays with his charm (as in that moment that pretends not to recognize Johnson just because he wears a mask) to get what he wants.
For better and for worse, the feeling of familiarity never goes away during the two hours (finally someone realizes that not all major productions need to go beyond 150 minutes) that it lasts. Any viewer will be able to detect the obvious inspirations of Red alert. A little bit of Indiana Jones around here. A few drops of James Bond over there. A dance that seems straight out of Eyes Wide Shut. Twists that could belong to the saga Mission Impossible. The biggest problem with blockbuster of Netflix is that she is inspired by movies that everyone knows and that are actually much better than her.
The story never gives you enough rest to really stop and think about what you are seeing. A crashed robbery in a museum in Rome. An arrest in Bali. A leak from a gulag in Siberia. A costume party and a brief visit to a bullring in Valencia (which reminds us of the apparent inability of major Hollywood productions to realistically recreate animals due to a nefarious CGI). The search for a treasure in the Amazon. Red alert does not stop at any time and the viewer is not tempted to get off the train.
The succession of set-pieces it is resolved more or less skillfully by Thurber, a director who moves better in a white comedy based on the entanglement and personality of its stars than in action scenes. The prologue in the museum in Italy and the escape in Russia are the best moments of a production that, due to the restrictions derived from COVID-19, had to be shot entirely in the United States. Ironically, the characters do not set foot in the country at any point during the trip.
The attempt to evoke the flavor of those classics that it honors (or copies, depending on who you ask) falls by the wayside. In their place appear some irregular special effects that can only be justified if we understand that probably 50% of the 200 million dollars that Netflix has theoretically paid for the film have gone to the pockets of its protagonist trio.
The cold response of the American critics (in Metacritic it has remained below 40 points) points to an adventure much worse and less fun than it turns out to be Red alert. The latest vehicle built in the service of Dwayne Johnson, who does not hesitate to include a nod to his famous rivalry with Vin Diesel, is an entertainment that makes the lack of ambition, humor and charisma of its actors its best virtues. Whoever wants surprises, yes, look elsewhere.
‘Red Alert’ is now available on Netflix.
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