Film Review: THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT (USA 2019)

The Red Sea Diving Resort Poster
Trailer

Israel’s Mossad agents attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1979.

Director:

Gideon Raff

Writer:

Gideon Raff

A Netflix original movie inspired by remarkable true life rescue missions,  THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT is the incredible story of a group of Mossad agents and brave Ethiopians who in the early 80s used a deserted holiday retreat in Sudan as a front to smuggle thousands of refugees to Israel. 

It all sounds good on paper and the fit looks like it might be another Netflix hit.  But what looks good on paper or based on a true story need not necessarily translate into an excellent film. Unfortunately, this is the case for Israeli born  Gideon Raff’s effort.  To give him a bit of credit, there is nothing really original one can do with the material but follow the story.

The undercover team carrying out this mission is led by the charismatic Ari Kidron (Chris Evans from CAPTAIN AMERICA) and courageous local Kabede Bimro (Michael Kenneth Williams) with a host of others that generally complain about a lot of things least of all Ari’s attitude.

The film begins with one successful mission, a close call which the audience is led to believe is true.  The operations are to be closed down owing to excessive risk to the people involved till Ari has an idea – to lease an abandoned diving resort, and set it up as as the smuggling front.

The resort unexpectedly attracts tourists that show up unexpectedly for a diving holiday.  Ari and friends have to accommodate them to keep the front.  Director Raff is unable to milk any humour from the incident except to elicit more incredibility,  The audience is led to believe that the tourists are fooled by aerobic classes, diving lessons and  tour guiding.  Really?  Where did all the equipment come from?

The Ari character is more annoying with him taking risks at the expense of others.  His only defence is that it is his nature and when he gets an idea he goes all out for it and gets everyone in trouble.  The questionable thing is why his crew keep  working with him and encouraging this unacceptable behaviour.  Chris Evans does not put that much into his role, while being hardly recognizable with facial hair throughout the film.  What is not understandable is the reason of hiring a famous super action hero star and then make him look totally unrecognizable in the role.  On would only wish perhaps Ari’s good friend the doctor would die and perhaps he learn a lesson o two about putting people close to him at risk.  His wife had already left him.  But no such luck.

Most of the suspense created in the film has been seen in other movies before.  There are lots of false alarms as well.  The climatic scene where the refugees barely escape in the nick of time is nothing exciting.

For a real life rescue mission with lots of risks and danger involved, THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT is an incredibly cliched and frustrating film that leads nowhere and offers little insight to the refugee problem.  A truly Netflix unoriginal. 

THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT is currently playing on Netflix.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls025720609/videoplayer/vi4008950553?ref_=tt_vd_ce_sc_i_1

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ASSASSIN’S CREED (2016) Michael Fassbender. Marion Cotillard.

assassins_creed_movie_poster.jpgDirector: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Michael Lesslie (screenplay), Adam Cooper (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Assassin’s Creed is an action-adventure video-game series created by Ubisoft that consists of nine main games and a number of supporting materials. The games have appeared on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and many other platforms. The games are set in a fictional history of real-world events and follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. From the game came the book series and it is inevitable that a film follows. Very bad idea! For a game about peace, the film is quite violent. Even with Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender starring and producing it, ASSASSIN’S CREED for all its $125 million production cost and star power like Marion Cotillard (barely recognizable), Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, the film comes out incredibly dull. For one, moviegoers know the famous adage: “It is hard to get excited over a movie made from a video game.” Yes, no matter how much the filmmakers try.

Cal Lynch (Fassbender) is about to be executed as his capital punishment. But he ends up travelling back in time to 15th-century Spain through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in his DNA. There, he lives out the experiences of Aguilar de Nerha, a distant ancestor who is also a member of the Assassins, a secret society that fights to protect free will from the power-hungry Templar Order. Transformed by the past, Cal begins to gain the knowledge and physical skills necessary to battle the oppressive organization in the present. There are lots of fighting with Fassbender shirtless showing off his super-toned body.

That is about it for story and plot. The visuals are mainly done though Computer Graphics with the film looking much like a video game with computer generated figures fighting or shown in large crowds. The visuals are nothing out of the ordinary. There are lots of action scenes with characters running about on rooftops, firing arrows or jumping around. These hardly generate any excitement.

The key prize that the Templars and Creed both seek is the apple, supposedly the one from the Garden of Eden that Eve ate, and so released the knowledge of Good and Evil. The audience is supposed to believe that the non-rotting apple has survived through the years and that anyone who possesses it can control man’s free will. So, the Templars wish to control humanity by owning the apple.

The film is directed by Australian Justin Kurzel who directed Fassbender in last year’s MACBETH. He did a good job, rising to fame with SNOWTOWN, but none of his talent is observable in this poor effort.

So during the Christmas season, it is a hard toss which is the worst film of the season or for the year for that matter. The three contenders are PASSENGERS, COLLATERAL BEAUTY and this one!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfJVoF5ko1Y

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