Film Review – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

13 Hours

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

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10 responses to “Film Review – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

  1. Good review. Personally, I liked this movie. But, as I said in my review, 13 Hours is more “Black Hawk Down than Zero Dark Thirty”. Basically, its more of action movie (even though its based on true life event) than a political drama. It just depends on how you look at it.

  2. Hollywood is now trying to make ActionStar!John happen. I’m not convinced. The action in this movie was actually decent, sadly Bay just sabotages himself eventually.

  3. I have wanted to watch this movies for a long time, but first I thought I should know more about it, because frankly I know nothing…
    I haven’t heard great things, but mainly I wanted to check it out for the lovely John Krasinski… Anyway, I’ll give it ago! Always great reviews, guys!

  4. Hmmm, I have to agree with you here – something was missing from this film. I felt there was some excellent build up scenes such as the approach of the militants across the wasteland in front of the compound – you know the bit with the ghostly white material hanging down? But I suppose I was searching / hoping for some action like in American Sniper with Bradley Cooper…but also completely appreciative of the fact that these are films about real life events.

  5. Pingback: The Movie Guys – 2017 Oscar Predictions | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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