13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2015) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMjU3OTQ5NDc3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEwNTkxNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_It was September 11, 2012 when a U.S. compound in Libya was attacked by armed militants where a U.S. Ambassador and four others were killed. Based on a true story, Director Michael Bay takes on the Benghazi event and how it unfolded as six CIA Operatives bravely tried to rescue their fellow commarades. With uncertainty which Libyan citizens are to be trusted, the CIA feverishly try to gain footing on a battle that may not be won.

There has been so much speculation about the Benghazi story that even till this day we are finding out little by little of what actually led up to the attack. But leaving politics aside, we focus solely on the movie at hand. Michael Bay is very well known for making blockbuster action films such as ‘Bad Boys‘ (1995) and ‘The Rock‘ (1996) to the lesser received ‘Armageddon‘ (1998) which would mark the peak of his career. Since then it’s been a hit or miss over the last 15 years with so much effort put into the Transformers series where he’s held an iron grip. One thing he has going for him is that Bay can pull your attention from the start. He’s not shy in the amount of action he displays on screen. Which is why going into production on an action drama where there’s so much unrest in the Middle East is different from what we’ve come to see from Bay.

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For the purposes of this review we won’t need to reference the actors by name because most of the film is centered on a U.S. compound being attacked. The characters we follow all have some kind of likability to them and as is in all Bay films we get plenty of comic relief when it’s needed. Some of the action sequences are pretty intense with there being plenty of bullets to shed on screen. There are even some scenes that aren’t for the squeamish towards the latter end of the film. What’s done effectively is that when you assume things are cooling off your only to be fooled and the action picks right back up again. This happens a few times during the film which helps to carry things right along.

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There were a few problems with the movie and the first thing that will be mentioned is the runtime. At two and a half hours the movie had difficulties balancing the heavy action. There’d also be points where dialogue between characters would carry on way too long as we are waiting for something to happen. It’s not that we don’t like to see people converse about their families or stories from their pasts but a lot of the film struggles to balance it out. In what could’ve been a 90 minute affair it unfortunately turns into a drag out experience where your just waiting for the white flag to be raised. Also, for a movie that’s supposed to be taken seriously you get a lot of comic relief moments. It was a little bizarre to see a city go into turmoil to only see somebody watching a soccer game and not be phased by it; almost like it’s a norm. And finally, with so much going on and you trying to understand who is and who aren’t the good guys your left at times being confused.

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For those who are into action films you may find this appealing to watch even if it does have it’s fair share of problems like a bloated runtime. But with characters you come to like over time you do root for their survival and hopes that things will get better as the film goes on. Although Michael Bay has put out better efforts with more clarity in his films you kind of already know what to expect if your somewhat familiar with the Benghazi story. If not, some viewers may be put off by the back and forth chatter about how we got to this point. There’s plenty to admire in ‘13 Hours‘ but the execution is what hurts this experience which ultimately leads to a weak recommend.

Rating: 6/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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