Movie Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

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Official Tagline: On Sept. 11, 2012, Islamic militants attack the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, an officer for the Foreign Service. Stationed less than one mile away are members (James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini) of the Annex Security Team, former soldiers assigned to protect operatives and diplomats in the city. As the assault rages on, the six men engage the combatants in a fierce firefight to save the lives of the remaining Americans.

Written by: Chuck Hogan
Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Costabile, David Denman, Alexia Barlier, Toby Stephens

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is the latest effort from director Michael Bay and for Bay this is a small movie. If a 50 million dollar action film can be called small, but compared to the Transformer films; 13 Hours is tiny. That’s not to say there isn’t a ton of explosions and gun fire, there is plenty of that, but there is also a sense of controlled restraint within the film. There isn’t the huge set piece, blow everything up on screen, Transformer style scenes in this film. What you do get are very gritty, in your face, action scenes of fire fights, daring escapes and men pushed to the extremes of endurance and violence. If you are looking for political blame or messages, you will be disappointed in this film that is more about the courage and sense of duty of these individuals caught in dire circumstances, than pointing fingers.

The main focus of the film is a small group of military contractors [when did they stop calling them mercenaries?] working for a black ops CIA station near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi who take it upon themselves to attempt a rescue of Ambassador Stevens and later leading the defense of the CIA station. Told mainly from the point of view of newly arrived, Jack Silva [John Krasinski] , we see the comradery of this close knit group, leader Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods [James Badge Dale], Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto [Pablo Schreiber], Dave ‘Boon’ Benton [David Denman], John ‘Tig’ Tiegen [Dominic Fumusa] and Mark ‘Oz’ Geist [Max Martini]and the extraordinary training and skill these men have to carry out their mission.
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I enjoyed 13 Hours and I think Michael Bay did a good job presenting the action and violence in an exciting and compelling way, but also to balance that with showing the cost that such violence has not only on the main characters, but also on the innocent people of Benghazi caught between the militants and the US soldiers. The cast did a very nice job of portraying these real life characters as brave, but flawed men and women caught in a seemingly hopeless situation. I also found it difficult not to get caught up in the patriotic spirit and get choked up during a few dramatic scenes. Stand out performance by Krasinski, Dale, and Schreiber give the film a nice human touch. A special mention of Toby Stephens as Glen ‘Bub’ Doherty, the leader of a small relief force attempting to get to the CIA station but caught in red tape adds humor and the sense of the absurd nature of our foreign policy. Stephens has become one of the best actors working today as evident here in this film, the miniseries “And Then There Were None” and of course his staring vehicle, Black Sails on Starz.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a thought provoking action film, that doesn’t glorify the violence too much and provides some insight into the extremely difficult job our Foreign Service personnel perform in sometimes very hostel environments. If you like your military action with a little social commentary, then I think you will enjoy 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Screen Writer Ink
Fade In Is Just The Beginning

If you like your military action with a little social commentary, then I think you will enjoy 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi