The entertainment world has changed so much that often a movie that’s streamed into your TV set offers more exciting entertainment than what’s playing at the multiplex.
That’s certainly true of this action-adventure about a courageous group of Israeli intelligence officers and Ethiopian freedom fighters who safely smuggled thousands of Ethiopian-Jewish refugees out of Sudan and into Israel in the 1980s.
Working with brave Ethiopian rebel leader Kabede Bimro (Michael Kenneth. Williams), Mossad agent Ari Levinson (Chris Evans) escorts persecuted Ethiopian Jews out of their war-torn country and into Gedaref Refugee Camp in Sudan. But that’s where they’re stuck – unable to make their way to Jerusalem.
Until Levinson comes up with a crazy rescue idea: if Mossad would lease an abandoned seaside hotel, he and his team could use it as a base camp to covertly transport Ethiopian refugees to waiting Israeli ships.
While Mossad leaders Ethan Levin (Ben Kingsley) and Barack Isaacs (Mark Ivanir) are skeptical, they agree to the plan, citing the Talmud: “He who saves one life saves the world entire.”
So Levinson recruits martial arts expert/flight-attendant Rachel Reiter (Haley Bennett), physician Sammy Navon (Alessandro Nivola), diving expert Jake Wolf (Michiel Huisman) and sharpshooter Max Rose (Alex Hassell). Each is issued a new identity and warned that, if captured, they’re on their own.
After negotiating with corrupt Sudanese officials, they acquire ownership of the deserted, decrepit Red Sea Diving Resort, only to discover that tour groups of vacationing Europeans begin to arrive, lured by their alluring, colorful brochures.
These unwitting visitors provide a perfect cover for the team’s nighttime forays, continually frustrating Sudanese Colonel Abdel Ahmed (Chris Chalk) who knows something’s going on but cannot prove it. Also kept in the dark is a suspicious American CIA agent (Greg Kinnear).
Israeli writer/director Gideon Raff, who created “Prisoners of War,” the Israeli series later adapted into Showtime’s “Homeland,” has once again crafted a compelling thriller.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Red Sea Diving Resort” is an oversimplified yet suspenseful 7 – and the end credits feature real-life footage of those involved.