In an alternate fantasy universe, Santa Claus is a US government operative with his own fleet of combat-trained elves. A premise so stupid, that it just might work. This is the 1st trailer for Red One.

Santa Claus (JK Simmons) works with the US government to deliver presents worldwide under the code name “Red One”. But one fateful night, Red One is kidnapped by a mysterious force. Begrudgingly, Santa’s head elf (Dwayne Johnson) teams up with a vigilante tracker (Chris Evans) on the Level 4 Naughty List to track down the missing jolly ol’ Saint Nick.

Red One (2024) – source: Amazon Prime

Alongside an anthropomorphic polar bear, this unlikely duo must traverse through a magical world of demons and spirits before the magic of Christmas is lost forever.

In 2024, we can spot a Dwayne Johnson character a mile away: large, in charge, and dripping with swagger. The 1st trailer for Red One showcases more of the same, but plunges him into a surprisingly imaginative fantasy world. Seeing gritty rehashes of family-friendly Christmas staples may feel like low-hanging comedy fruit, but the sheer novelty of Johnson leading a cadre of elves like Seal Team 6 is enough to bring on the laughs.

However, novelty only gets you so far, and the rest of the trailer disappoints. While co-stars Evans and Simmons are some of the most naturally likable actors in Hollywood, one can’t help but shake the feeling that the entire cast is on autopilot. Even Johnson seems to be phoning it in more than usual, with certain shots lifted beat-for-beat from his other films.

A car chase in the 2nd half of the trailer actually elicited a groan from me, due to the sheer number of times I’ve seen Johnson execute the same moves before. And when that happens to a Rock apologist like me, you’ve already lost the battle.

Directed by Jake Kasdan, Red One will release on Amazon Prime on November 15, 2024. The movie stars Dwayne Johnson, Chris Evans and J.K Simmons.

Does content like this matter to you?

Become a Member and support film journalism. Unlock access to all of Film Inquiry`s great articles. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about cinema – get access to our private members Network, give back to independent filmmakers, and more.

Join now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.