THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT (NETFLIX) (2019)
SYNOPSIS: Inspired by remarkable true life rescue missions, THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT is the incredible story of a group of international 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. The undercover team carrying out this mission is led by the charismatic Ari Levinson (Chris Evans) and courageous local Kabede Bimro (Michael Kenneth Williams).
After the end of his stint as Captain America, Chris Evans once again assembled a team of heroes but this time round, for an entirely different kind of mission in Netflix’s The Red Sea Diving Resort.
Inspired by true events as per any Hollywood title that is based on real-life incident or event will tell you, The Red Sea Diving Resort depicts the tale of how a group of Mossad agents made good use of a dilapidated seaside resort to smuggle Jewish-Ethiopians caught in the middle of a civil war out of Sudan to Israel with the help of the Israeli government.
Evans plays Ari Levinson, the predictable reckless white and brave hero who has no qualms saving every refugee out there while putting the lives of his fellow teammates liked field doctor, Sammy (Alessandro Nivola from Jurassic Park III) and tough girl, Rachel (Haley Bennett from The Magnificent Seven remake) at risk. Boardwalk Empire’s Michael K. Williams on the other hand plays Kebede, the local hero who acts as the middleman for the refugees and fans of Games of Thrones will spot Michiel Huisman as one of the teammates, Jacob (including a bonus scene of him baring his butt).
Despite the fact that writer and director Gideon Raff (Homeland) has assembled an eye-catching cast and did we mention Sir Ben Kingsley and Greg Kinnear in smaller roles? The story on the whole remains almost pedestrian-like and frustratingly underwhelming for the two hours running time. For the most part, the espionage flick never reaches the height and tension of similar-themed movies liked Argo and Munich as it plods along aimlessly.
There’s nothing wrong with the cast delivery for sure. It’s just that the momentum and execution is poorly handle even with the introduction of a menacing Colonel (played wonderfully by Chris Chalk) mid-way. By then, it’s a little too late especially when the movie has delivered its obligatory feel-good montage of Ari and gang smuggling thousands of refugees out of their so-called fake resort filled with real tourists. Still, the last 30 minutes or so is mildly engaging as expected. The typical Hollywood title should end with a rousing showdown between good and evil and The Red Sea Diving Resort provides a half-baked ending to the whole saga.
The Red Sea Diving Resort is unquestionably a letdown consider the pedigree of the cast. It’s never taut, thrilling let alone convincing the audiences of the compelling real-life event that actually took place in the 70s. For now, it seems Evans and his fellow Avengers (also check out Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank) need to look for more substantial projects post-Endgame.
Review by Linus Tee