Title – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Director – Michael Bay (Bad Boys)
Cast – John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, David Costabile, Alexia Barlier
Plot – When a US owned compound is attacked in Libya by a collection of terrorists, a group of contracted American security soldiers must mount a defiant battle to stop the terrorists from taking over and killing innocent American civilians in the process.
“You can’t put a price on being able to live with yourself”
Review by Eddie on 25/10/2016
A Michael Bay film that almost doesn’t feel like a Michael Bay film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi sees the robot appendage loving director dial it down a notch or two to deliver a solid if somewhat unmemorable war/thriller genre piece that finds its impressively staged and conducted firefights drowned out by a forgettable cast of cardboard characters and an overlong runtime that needed a good old fashioned edit.
It’s not often we associate the explosion king of Hollywood with true life retellings, especially when his previous ventures include the oft ridiculed Pearl Harbor and the curiously overlooked Pain and Gain and it’s not often we associate him with subtlety but 13 Hours is certainly Michael Bay being dialled back a notch or two and it’s refreshing to see the filmmaker make use of his oft forgotten actual talent as a director and 13 Hours more than once showcases his very best when the bullets fly and tension is ramped up as our small group of American hero’s fight for survival on the war torn streets of Benghazi.
Bay’s downfall however, which is a characteristic of his works from many moons ago, is his penchant for over ripe dialogue, over-long set ups and a group of characters we care little about and while 13 Hours sees the director in charge of a largely B grade cast led by a beefed up Jon Krasinski and a bearded James Badge Dale, the director hardly draws out noteworthy turns from his actors and half way through the film you realise you can’t even differentiate your Tig’s from your Tanto’s and it’s a shame as with any film like 13 Hours the action and bullets can take you only so far when the people at the heart of your tale make little to no impact emotionally.
Far from a great war film but also far from a write off, 13 Hours is a watchable and sometimes brilliantly staged experience that might just show to the Bay haters that there’s more to the explosives than meets the eyes and in many ways 13 Hours gives airtime to a little known real life event that deserves to be recognised by a wider audience.
3 Happy Meals out of 5