13 Hours (2015)
Starring: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Max Martini, Alexia Barlier
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Chuck Hogan
Rating: R Running Time: 2 hr. 24 min
What did we expect from Pearl Harbor and Transformers director, Michael Bay? A thoughtful and accurate portrayal of events surrounding the Benghazi embassy attack? Don’t be silly. This was never going to be anything more than an action movie designed to pump up right leaning Benghazi conspiracy believers. Nothing more.
This is a story about “real” Americans fighting the good fight against creepy foreigners, and those annoying Ivy League elites. A story about a sweaty bunch of butch bearded men defending the red, white, and blue and risking their lives while being betrayed by their government. Everything a growing conservative needs, a serving of xenophobia biscuits with paranoia gravy.
13 Hours was exactly what I expected from this director. Choppy action, gorgeous rich photography, and lots of silly machismo posturing. Populated by caricatures not characters, who represent an ideology rather than anyone we the audience can follow and root for. I honestly couldn’t remember more than a couple of the main character’s nicknames at the end of the film, and certainly didn’t know who was who. They were all so interchangeable.
The first half of the movie pushes Benghazi conspiracy theories, and isn’t all that entertaining or convincing. It’s merely a slickly photographed set of moments designed to set tone and push an agenda. The second half, however, mostly moves away from the political spin and concentrates more on the attack on the CIA annex.
At this point, as our all American heroes defend their compound against incredible odds, the movie gets good. Bay pulls the camera back to give us a better view of the action, and keeps the slower cheesy talkie bits in-between the mayhem to a minimum. The action feels real, dangerous and it’s well executed by cast and crew. If Michael Bay had dispensed with the political propaganda, and just focused on the CIA annex drama, 13 Hours could have been a lot of fun, while also honoring real live heroes in a difficult situation.
If you believe the Benghazi attack was caused by then Secretary Clinton’s ineptitude, you’re going to love this film. Those looking for a balanced account of the attack on the embassy, should look elsewhere.
The attack on the CIA annex location.