13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

"Weak"

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Review


Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this retelling of the notorious attack on an American compound in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012. As always, Bay stages the action on a big scale in a way that looks amazing, but he neglects both the story and the characters. As a result, the film feels epic and beefy, but is impossible to engage with.

It opens as a team of hired soldiers assembles at a secret CIA base in Benghazi. Jack (John Krasinski) is the newest arrival, joining his old pal Rone (James Badge Dale) and four more tough guys (Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini). Meanwhile just up the road, the American Ambassador (Matt Letscher) is staying in a rather unsecure compound with not quite enough security, despite stern warnings from Washington that trouble is brewing. Sure enough, as night falls a local jihadist militia launches a violent, fiery assault. The CIA base chief (David Costabile) tells his men not to join the fight, but of course they can't resist the chance to charge in and save the day.

Over a long and bludgeoning two and a half hours, Bay carefully recreates this long, vicious night of fighting, as the situation continually twists out of control. The best thing about the film is the way it depicts how difficult it was to know which locals were on which side, but even this is simplified in Chuck Hogan's script. Everyone on-screen is interchangeable as either a bewildered nerd or a fierce warrior, and the only one in between is by far the film's strongest character: Peyman Moaadi's translator, who gets pushed right into the middle of the nightmare. In the few quiet moments, there are clumsy attempts to give these manly men some back-story, but it's the same for everyone: former black ops soldier with a wife and kids back home.

Bay shamelessly uses these distant relatives to ramp up some emotional stakes, but since it's impossible to tell which shouty-beardy man is whom, and since these family ties are such cliches, it never works. And the film is directed without any sense of perspective, spinning around between all of the sides as if it was possible to tell them apart. The only sensible response for an audience is to sit back and watch the carnage, admire the scale of the production and the size of the explosions. Narrow-minded viewers who want their unfounded opinions ratified will read what they want into it. Everyone else will just get a headache.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi



13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 144 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 2016

Box Office USA: $16.2M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, 3 Arts Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 66 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Tanto, as Jack, as Boon, as Glen 'Bub' Doherty, as Oz, as Rone, as The Chief, Elektra Anastasi as CIA Agent, Alexia Barlier as Sona Jillani, Liisa Evastina as Actress, Dominic Fumusa as Tig, Demetrius Grosse as DS Agent Dave Ubben, Steffi Thake as Chief's Assistant, Kerim Troeller as Viper, Kenny Sheard as Delta 1

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.