Kevin Hart’s new Netflix movie just flew into the No.1 spot — but critics aren’t impressed

Kevin Hart as Cyrus in Lift on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has a new No.1 movie as action-comedy Lift has claimed the top spot on the streamer’s most-watched list just days after its debut. This heist movie stars Kevin Hart, and while it’s drawing plenty of attention, its critical reception isn’t quite so hot. 

Lift landed on Netflix last Friday (Jan. 14), and already outranks the likes of The Equalizer 3, After Everything and Society of the Snow in the Netflix top 10 list. And it could be set for an extended stay at the top of the service's most-watched charts as the list of new Netflix movies and shows to watch this week is looking a little thin. 

The movie sees Hart play Cyrus, a master thief, recruited by his Interpol agent ex-girlfriend (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) to pull off a so-called “impossible” heist. The plan is to steal $500m in gold from a passenger plane while it’s flying from London to Zurich. 

But to complete the mid-air mission, Cyrus will first need to assemble a fearless crew to assist him in the act. And as you might expect, once onboard the airplane not everything goes according to plan, and the team needs to quickly pivot on the fly. 

Alongside Hart and Mbatha-Raw, Lift also features Sam Worthington, Vincent D'Onofrio, Úrsula Corberó, Billy Magnussen and Kim Yoon-ji. Plus, the new Netflix original movie is directed by F. Gary Gray who is no stranger to high-stakes blockbusters having previously helmed The Fate of the Furious back in 2017.  

Lift reviews — here’s what the critics say 

Lift might be flying high in the Netflix top 10, but the response from critics has been less than stellar. 

Right now, the movie holds a poor 28% score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and it doesn’t seem like viewers are all that impressed with the heist comedy either. The Lift’s audience score currently stands at just 34% from more than 250 reviews. 

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times argued that Lift “steals ideas from better movies” and labeled it “short on originality” but did praise the “talented” cast. Christy Lemire of similarly felt the flick was “star-studded” and “competently made” but ultimately concluded that it’s a “hollow" experience.

Peter Travers was particularly cutting in their review for ABC News, saying that Lift “starts the new year off wrong with another Kevin Hart misfire that doesn’t even try to be funny, preferring to slide by as a humdrum heist movie that steals time you'll never get back.” 

Similarly, Samantha Bergeson of IndieWire quipped that it’s “our time that’s really being stolen here” while Ed Power of the Daily Telegraph labeled Lift an “Ocean’s Eleven knock-off” with “zero charm.” 

Empire Magazine’s Beth Webb called it a “turbulent ride” but did praise the performance of Mabatha-Raw saying the movie “should propel her to bigger and bolder things.”

There are not many positive takes to be found online, but Adrian Horton of the Guardian did say “There’s plenty to keep many viewers watching for its 1 hour, 44-minute runtime” in a three-star review.  

Should you stream Lift on Netflix? 

If you’re craving an easily digestible Netflix movie that mixes blockbuster spectacle with some good-natured humor, then Lift might hold some appeal. It’s also a great pick for the whole family with a PG-13 rating and an overall tone that never takes things too seriously. 

However, if you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix that will stay with you, then you’d be better off making a selection from our roundup of the best Netflix movies instead. Lift is a highly forgettable action-comedy, and we can comfortably say it’s not going to make any best-of-the-year lists. 

If you want some alternatives, there are plenty of top movies to watch this week. And if you also have a Max subscription the streaming service just got a selection of movies with high Rotten Tomatoes scores including some real cinema classics. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.