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Netflix’s biggest blockbuster movie of 2021 is finally out, and here’s what everyone’s saying

gal gadot in a fur coat, leaning over prisoner

Here’s what happened when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson attended a pitch meeting for the idea that would become Red Notice, Netflix’s newly released action thriller that arrived on the streamer Friday. Arrived to much fanfare, we should add, since this movie is really the biggest that Netflix has ever made. With a stacked cast — including The Rock, plus Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds — and which treats viewers to the lavish spectacle of a theatrical release.

Anyway, as The Rock recalls, he was at a dinner with producers. One of them launches into a pitch for the idea, about an odd couple pairing of an FBI agent and an art thief — who eventually team up to catch the world’s most wanted art thief. The pitch lasts something like an hour. The producer revealed a sly twist at the end of the planned movie. At that point, The Rock explains in Netflix’s press materials for Red Notice, he stood up, threw the baseball hat he was wearing across the room. Sat back down. Then told the producer. “You son of a b—-. I am 100% in.” If that tells you anything about what a fun romp awaits viewers of this cheeky, action-packed comedic star vehicle.

Netflix’s biggest movie ever, now streaming

Here’s a rundown of the basic plot, courtesy of Netflix. “When an Interpol-issued Red Notice — the highest level warrant to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted — goes out, the FBI’s top profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is on the case.

“His global pursuit finds him smack dab in the middle of a daring heist where he’s forced to partner with the world’s greatest art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in order to catch the world’s most wanted art thief, ‘The Bishop’ (Gal Gadot). The high-flying adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the dance floor, trapped in a secluded prison, into the jungle, and, worst of all for them, constantly into each other’s company.”

This is the kind of movie I’d have not thought twice about plunking down cash to see in a theater. You know, in the Before Times. Now? I’m still not comfortable with seeing 120-minute films (and longer) in theaters yet, so this is a great alternative. My entertainment for this weekend is sorted.

Red Notice trailer

In case you haven’t seen yet it, by the way, the movie’s trailer is embedded below. Definitely whets the appetite to stream the movie in full, in my opinion.

“The whole idea of Red Notice is that it’s a throwback to big, fun, swashbuckling, movie star movies,” director Rawson Marshall Thurber explains, per Netflix’s press packet. “So the whole pitch was — big stars, big action, big laughs. It was always in the DNA from the very, very beginning, of wanting to do a globe-trotting heist film with the three biggest stars in the world.”

So how has it been received thus far?

Reaction and ratings

two men handcuffed together woman watching
Dwayne Johnson is the FBI’s top profiler John Hartley, Gal Gadot is the world’s most wanted art thief “The Bishop” and Ryan Reynolds is the world’s greatest art thief Nolan Booth in the new Netflix film “Red Notice.” Image source: Frank Masi / Netflix

Over at Rotten Tomatoes, audiences seem to be absolutely loving the movie.

The movie has a 92% audience score, based on more than 100 user ratings. Critics, on the other hand, are slamming the movie, unfortunately. The film has an abysmal 39% critics score, as of the time of this writing.

That’s based on 102 reviews, including this lament from Chicago Reader: “Like the plot of the film itself, none of the many bullets that whizz around ever seem to find their targets.” Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.