*** May Contain Some Spoilers***
I, too, just viewed this film on TMC, but no, I did not find this film nearly as bad as many others have. In general it is easy to follow the plot if one pays attention. The two things that I did find confusing were:
1) The lack of a clear timeline. It is not evident over what timeframe the various episodes occur. Similar films of this era often used titles in order to present the time and date and place in an obvious manner, e.g., "Corsica, Wednesday 24 May, 10:00 a.m." The lack of a clear timeframe for the action was especially evident when Patrice (the revolutionary professor played by Georges Beller) is released from prison and claims that he had been incarcerated for several weeks. To the viewer it did not seem to have been so long, so one is left wondering if he were exaggerating, or if the timeframe of the script were faulty.
2) When Larry Martin (played by Peter O'Toole) goes to meet Sloat disguised as Patrice (played by Georges Beller) the viewer is confused as to whether it is actually Martin or Patrice who is on the journey. The viewer is told that Martin is disguised as Patrice, but the viewer doubts this because the man whom he sees on the screen is clearly the actor Georges Beller. This comes about as result of the director actually filming the actor Georges Beller instead of filming Peter O'Toole in a disguise. A good example of a director being too clever for his film's own good!
All in all quite different from James Bond films as the back-story is well-grounded in reality and does not refer to fictional nations or organizations.
One lingering question:
When the IDF rappels into the cave complex to seize Sloat, what is the fate of the several terrorists making prayer to Allah? The movie does not even give us one clue.
I watched this on dvd last night and didn't think it was as horrible as I've heard. It was a little slow, but kind of interesting if you pay attention to detail. I hated the last few minutes, I guess there was a reason but I thought it was stupid. All in all, I thought it was a worth adding to my O'Toole collection if just to say I have it.