'We've Gotta Fix It': Here Are The Red Notice Scenes That Needed Some Extra Work

"Red Notice" is currently tearing up the charts on Netflix, and it's no surprise why: the movie features three A-list stars (Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot) in a globe-spanning adventure, bickering and outsmarting and outmaneuvering each other in a quest for hidden treasure. Sure, it can feel formulaic at times, and it often feels like it's doing a cover version of something you've seen in much better movies. But all things considered, it's executed pretty well. At the very least, the plentiful banter is far more entertaining than it was in "Hobbs and Shaw," so I consider that a win.

But as breezy as the movie can feel at times, it wasn't always a complete breeze to make. In addition to experiencing a big shutdown at the start of the pandemic, "Red Notice" also required a few tweaks in the editing room after some test screenings didn't go quite as well as initially hoped. During my recent interview with producer Hiram Garcia, he told me about a couple of scenes that needed a bit of extra attention in order to get the tone right, and since they involve spoilers for the movie, I didn't include them in that original article. But now that the movie is out for all to see, here are the "Red Notice" scenes that needed a bit of extra work.

Final warning: spoilers for "Red Notice" below.

Massaging the Big Reveal

An argument could be made that no audience member could ever truly feel sorry for a Ryan Reynolds character. He's always playing a fast-talking, handsome guy, and his sarcastic comedy style, which has proven wildly successful with fans, tends to keep him at a bit of a remove when it comes to empathizing with him in a meaningful way. That remains the case in "Red Notice," but as Garcia explains, the filmmakers went to great pains to ensure that audiences didn't feel too bad for Reynolds' character, Nolan Booth, when it's revealed in the third act that Hartley (Johnson) and The Bishop (Gadot) have been working together to con him.

"One of the things that we were really trying to massage that took a little bit more work was, the whole movie, Ryan is obviously this lead villain, in the sense that he never really works with anyone, and he's very slippery, and he's always double-crossing people. And you go the whole movie understanding that, and you start to fall in love with this relationship between Booth and Hartley. And then you get the turn. One of the things we had to massage was in that turn, doing it in a way where the audience didn't suddenly feel really bad for Ryan, even though he was kind of the guy who was screwing everyone at the top. It was a massaging of, on that turn, how do we do it in a way where it still feels good, the audience still has fun with it, [and] they're not feeling too bad about Ryan now having this long con pulled on him? Even though Ryan's been conning people the whole movie and putting DJ in several dangerous situations. That was a lot of fun to try to balance that."

"Nobody Takes a Punch From DJ and Keeps Standing"

Much has been written about how the male stars of the "Fast and Furious" movies, including Dwayne Johnson, have ridiculous requirements in place so they aren't perceived as "weak" in that franchise's fight scenes. Well, it looks like those behind-the-scenes tactics worked, because apparently the expectation that Johnson won't lose in a fight has spilled over into other movies. As Garcia says:

"Another thing we had to massage was – and it deals with the twist of the movie – was in the prison sequence, when Ryan's having fun and he's calling out that DJ's a cop. It's very hard to find someone who's bigger than DJ, right? We had a great stunt guy who comes up to him, who was the biggest guy we had, but the truth is that when DJ stands up to him, he's still bigger than him. So we had a sequence where DJ threw a punch and the guy takes it, and then all of a sudden the guy turns around and [knocks DJ down with a spin kick]. Audiences were really bumping against it. They were like, "Nobody takes a punch from DJ and keeps standing." So we had to eliminate the punch, and it actually worked better toward the character of the con that's going on. We just let that stunt guy do that sequence on DJ, beat him up, and then you find out in the long run why DJ ended up taking this punch because there's a whole mysterious twist going on as well. So stuff like that, that you get while you're testing the movie, that you never know is going to be an issue and all of a sudden you find out, "Yep, we've gotta fix it."

I'm glad Johnson found it acceptable to get his ass handed to him on screen by a prison guard, but I'm not convinced audiences will think back to that moment as being a part of the larger plan once the twist is revealed. To me, the scene plays like Johnson simply lost the fight. But that's not a bad thing! Some of the best action movie heroes of all time are the vulnerable ones, the ones who don't win every fight and who feel like they're actually in danger when they get into brawls. Before I knew this film's twist, I remember clocking the prison fight moment and thinking, "Hey, good for you! You were actually willing to lose for once." I don't expect to see Johnson losing many fights when he plays the super-powerful title character in the upcoming DC movie "Black Adam," but I hope that in future films, he's willing to take a few more losses on screen.

"Red Notice" is streaming now on Netflix.