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.