Chris Evans, Alessandro Nivola, Haley Bennett, Michiel Huisman, Alex Hassell

Is ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ worth watching?

The Red Sea Diving Resort is worth watching if:

  • You love movies based on historical events.
  • You’ve been patiently waiting for a Netflix Original starring Chris Evans.
  • You’re okay with several Hollywood liberties.

The Red Sea Diving Resort is not worth watching if:

  • With a runtime of 2 hours 10 minutes, you need the movie to be great.
  • Unrealistic military procedures in movies make you cringe.
  • You expect a lot of scenes from the Ethiopian refugee perspective.

Pros:

  • Highlights an intense part of Jewish and Ethiopian history many might be unfamiliar with.
  • The acting from Chris Evans and the other Mossad agents is solid and believable.
  • Some fun spy moments.

Cons:

  • Incorporates too many cliche scenes and montages that come across as corny.
  • 2 hours and ten minutes is too long for the way they choose to tell the story.
  • The story arc can be uneven and unsatisfying.

Chris Evans shirtless and Haley Bennett cleavage
The movie makes sure not to waste its beachfront setting…

score: 70% CHILLIN 

One sentence story summary: Undercover agents open up a fake hotel to real tourists as a cover to help smuggle thousands of Ethiopian refugees to safety.

Coming in to The Red Sea Diving Resort, I knew nothing about the history of the jewish population in Ethiopia, the persecution they came to face over time, nor the dozens of Israeli led military missions to help exfiltrate them to Israel in the early 80s. I read up a bit on the matter before watching, but still was far from completely versed in the subject before I hit play.

After watching the film, I’d say I know about the same as after having read a couple minutes on Wikipedia. This isn’t necessarily a negative, it’s just to say that when the film opens with ‘inspired by true events’, ‘inspired’ is the key word here. Without being familiar with specific details from these rescue missions, it is still pretty obvious that much of what you see in the movie is heavily dramatized. Several characters feel overly cartoony at times, certain decisions are made in unrealistic and highly risky fashion, and the plot likes to jump through time via montage sequences in order to quickly tell a story with a wider scope.

Because the film wants to showcase the breadth of these rescue missions and the time that went into them, it starts to lose its narrative arc and tends to get muddied over its 2 hour runtime. Every problem that comes in way of the heroes is resolved relatively quickly, as they continue to repeat the same rescue formula a handful of times. I believe the movie would have been better served had it focused intensely on one or two journeys by the refugees, rather than trying to forcefully include a large scope of events.

While one of the major themes of the movie is the universal struggle of refugees who are forced from their countries, there is relatively little characterization of the Ethiopian jews over the course of the film. It really is a spy movie Mossad show, starring Chris Evans (Captain America) and his fellow agents, all of whom speak fluent English, who get the star treatment in this one.

Thanks to the acting and production values, it’s not a terrible movie, and one that should still manage to entertain fans of either the historical or spy movie genres. If those aren’t typically themes that appeal to you, however, the film’s runtime and reliance on cliches will certainly drag you down.


The Red Sea Diving Resort includes Netflix Original regulars:

Michael Kenneth Williams Michael Kenneth Wilson as Kabede

Michiel Huisman Michiel Huisman as Jake Wolf

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