13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) Movie Review: Forget the Politics

Drinking Game

Do a Shot: when you see what lack of preparation there was in the US compound

Take a Body Shot: when the 13 hours begin for our veterans.

Shotgun a Beer: after the first battle (make it fast though)

Down a 32 oz: when Krasinski says the final line of the movie.

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Jake Turner (A Toast) –

I don’t understand the hatred for director Michael Bay. Don’t get me wrong, though; he has had some bombs such as Pearl Harbor, Pain and Gain, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. However, with movies like 13 Hours, folks should understand how good Bay can be as a director and how…politics don’t need to be paramount in every military-based film.

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I don’t see any politicians around here. ACTION!

A Toast

Based on the Mitchell Zuckoff novel from back in 2014, 13 Hours rightfully dismisses the political backlash involving a current presidential candidate and administration. Bay even came out lately and defined his way of making the film- “It avoids the politics.” On behalf of filmgoers everywhere, thank you.

Starting on September 10, 2012, six ex-military veterans (former Navy SEALS, Marine Force Recon, and Army Special Forces) were in Benghazi, Libya as CIA security contractors known as “the Annex security team” protecting the CIA “Annex” building and a few miles away, the American diplomatic compound. During the evening of September 11th on the eleventh year anniversary of the attacks, Islamic militants attacked this compound while U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher) was there. However, the only thing standing between our heroic contractors and protecting these diplomats was an order by their diplomatic boss, “The Chief” (David Costabile, Suits), to “stand down.”

Yes, I was fueled with anger over this. While an poorly-constructed security team (armed with M9s and cargo shorts) is losing the battle at the compound, the security team couldn’t leave to join the fight. Thus began the 13 hours of survival in Benghazi.

Former Navy SEAL Jack Silva (John Krasinski), Marine veterans Mark “Oz” Geist (Max Martini) and John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), elite sniper Boon (David Denman), former Army ranger Kris “Tanto” Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), and former Navy SEAL Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale) were the hopes of over 30 lives in the CIA compound that continuously was attacked and had to rely on a small Libyan team known as 17 Feb to survive. The politics ended when bureaucrats denied all of the following events that were about to unfold on the big screen. That’s when Bay’s film becomes an patriotic act of survival that never lets you go.

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Thanks, but I’ll listen to the heroes who had to go through this!

What makes an great military-based film is resonance with the main characters. Most people would think that all these men having complex storylines would be necessary to be able to relate to them. However, that wasn’t the case, and screenwriter Chuck Hogan made sure it stayed simple. All these heroes had was their lives back in America with their families, especially Silva.

Krasinski was able to transform from the goofy “Jim” in the TV show The Office to this badass former Navy SEAL that was just doing his job, when all he wanted was to go home. Even finding out that his wife is pregnant as she pulls up to a McDonalds with a bunch of screaming kids in the back seat was heartbreaking to witness. Family was their motivation for survival. Dale embodies a leader and is the strongest part of the group; you buy into him right away with his mannerisms and ability to go into battle without even batting an eyelash. Schreiber carried on that same kind of wisecracking confidence we’re used to from him, but knew what to do when the bullets flew. He’d be the one to start it all and finish. Martini, Denman, and Fumusa delivered the goods, able to spout off a smart-alecky comment between battles while trying to keep their composure and never surrender all to the epic patriotic sound of Lorne Balfe (with help from Hans Zimmer).

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Call me Jim, one more time. I dare you.

I once said that Michael Bay is the “king of fast food filmmaking”, but he takes his bombastic mindset and authenticates his action sequences. Yes, of course the firework spectacle of his action was still there, and his overwrought slow motion was on full blast, but you can tell that Bay really did his homework. He kept this from being a mess by working simply, just like our heroes, sticking to the action on the ground and ditching the politics.

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D.C., you getting all of this?

Verdict

13 Hours is not trying to bring a political statement, but to show the story that only Zuckoff dared to write back in 2013.  Michael Bay was the right man to bring it to the big screen with his authentic action sequences, the spot-on performances, and a story that was about doing one thing: fighting to go home. See it for yourself and stop listening to the conspiracy theories.

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About Jake Turner

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