13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

January 14, 2016145 min

In 2012 an American Ambassador was killed during an attack in Libya. The only help they had were a C.I.A security team that was about a mile away. After the Ambassador’s death the security team would have to help protect the C.I.A. compound as well. This story made its rounds on the news cycle for what happened during and after the fight. This is a great story of American heroism that like so many stories before, seem perfectly fit for the big screen. Michael Bay is not a stranger to both action and true stories so naturally he is a good fit, or is he?
Jack Silva (John Krasinski) is a retired S.E.A.L, who is not enjoying the retired life. When Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale) asks him to come work a security detail as a contractor Jack agrees. The detail is in Benghazi, which is not really the most peaceful of areas. Their job is simple; it’s to protect C.I.A. operatives as they carry out their missions. Things get a little heavier when Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher) makes a visit, with not much of a security detail in tow. Like many things with good intentions, things go wrong and Ambassador Stevens loses his life and soon the detail that was just there to protect, is trying to make it through the night while having to fight for their own survival.
With such a heroic story Michael Bay as a director would not come to mind as the first choice. Bay as a director has always done action well, and the scenes where there is action at times looks really good. Sure there are the Bay tendencies of imageries and the camera on a mortar shot (think the falling bomb from “Pearl Habor”) and all the other things that let you know this is a film by Michael Bay. While the action looks good, the negatives show their face, as Bay shows again that he lets things go on too long, and that he may have never met an editing machine he enjoys using. The film feels like a long simmer, a simmer that never quite reaches boiling point, only getting close and then falling back to a slow simmer once again. Like “Pearl Harbor” the film’s run times starts to become a test of endurance as too many parts drag. While all of these things do bring the film down, most of the story is intact and it really quite watchable most of the time. The film is respectful of its story and its heroes and could have been much better, if only about a half an hour shorter. It seems Bay is doing these smaller films in between killing our senses with his “Transformers” series. I for one think he is much better with a smaller budget, as in his earlier films. “13 Hours” really is just fine, and if you can pass the endurance test, it’s worth the watch. So look past who directed this film, and see it for the story its people, and of course the action.

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