ENTEBBE

Cert 12A 107mins Stars 3

There’s a bumpy experience awaiting you on board this down-beat real life airline hostage drama.

It’s a serious-minded look at Operation Thunderbolt, a 1976 Israeli armed forces attempt to the rescue of a plane-load of civilians.

Four terrorists diverted a Paris-bound plane to Uganda’s Entebbe airport, where they demanded the release of Israeli-held prisoners in return for the safe return of the passengers.

The country is ruled by the dictator Idi Amin, who even the terrorists consider a lunatic.

This set-up is so cinematic it has been filmed three times previously, and inspired the 1986 Chuck Norris adventure, The Delta Force.

Throw in some great performances and this should be terrific entertainment.

But the producers are best known for romcoms such as Four Weddings, and the Brazilian director Jose Padilha is best known for his woeful 2014 remake of sci-fi classic, RoboCop.

He is indulged in his almost experimental approach to the material, which means the daring military attack arrives almost an afterthought. Plus amid some decent character work, he brings in moments of contemporary dance to examine the relationship between art and war.

However the film is given an emergency airlift by stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl, who are on strenuous form as the German members of the infamous German Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, and leaders of the hijack.

Their accomplices are a pair of thinly-sketched Palestinians whom the film has little interest in. 

However Brit actor Eddie Marsan is quietly wonderful as the poker-faced Israeli defence minister who insists there can be no negotiation.

However the passengers are anonymous pawns of politics, and the story would have been better served by a more straightforward narrative and an emphasis on action.

Steven Spielberg’s meaty 2008 thriller, Munich, and Ben Affleck’s crowd-pleasing Oscar winner, Argo, covered similar ground far more successfully.

And sadly Entebbe fails to achieve their dramatic height.

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