Christmas Is Going to Get Ruined in Red One

On what can we blame the recent uptick in “edgy” holiday films? I’m looking at you, Violent Night. And I’m definitely looking at you, Red One, the latest dubious-looking Netflix movie with a title that begins with “Red.” Is this set in the Red Notice Cinematic Universe?

Red One begins with a jacked-up Santa (J.K. Simmons, what are you doing here) doing 500 bench presses because he’s TOUGH, he is MANLY, he’s not your good old jolly Saint Nick. He probably didn’t even eat those cookies you left out for him. He’s got an even tougher security detail in the form of The Rock and an animated polar bear, but they are apparently useless when someone—gasp—kidnaps Santa. Is Christmas in danger?

If it is, it’s because of the blatant product placement and weirdly aggressive and militaristic vibe here, but anyway. Chris Evans plays a dude who’s level four on the naughty list but is, nevertheless, the only man who can help find Santa (what good did all those bench presses do, anyway?). Krampus’s good name gets dragged into this, along with some snowmen.

The rest of the cast includes Lucy Liu, Kiernan Shipka, Bonnie Hunt, Kristofer Hivju (that you under the Krampus makeup?), and Nick Kroll. Jake Kasdan, who directed the weirdly charming Zero Effect in the ’90s but has since moved on to the likes of the Jumanji remakes, directs. The screenplay is by Hiram Garcia and Chris Morgan, which makes me sad, because once upon a time Chris Morgan was the most reliable writer in the Fast and/or Furious franchise. And now he’s here. Writing about jacked Santa.

Red One alights on Netflix on November 15th. Maybe it’ll be more fun than it looks. icon-paragraph-end

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