Saturday, January 23, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Movie Review

Starring John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Alexia Barlier, David Costabile, Toby Stephens, Matt Letscher, Peyman Moaadi, Demetrius Grosse, David Guintoli and Christopher Dingli.
Written by Chuck Hogan.
Directed by Michael Bay.


When Black Hawk Down came out, it wasn't hyped as a movie that would harm Bill Clinton's legacy, nor should this movie be hyped as one that will harm Hillary Clinton's legacy, even though the events themselves do. This is a straightforward movie about heroes, soldiers who want to go in and save lives when there's no one else coming. It isn't really a political movie, even though certain politicians and critics want to make it as such (left and right).

The Office's John Krasinski plays Jack Silva (not the real man's name), one of the ground operatives stationed in Benghazi, Libya, after Gaddhafi's death. (How come we never settled on a spelling for that name? I've seen it spelled with a K and Q too. Anyway...) The U.S. embassy has been dowgraded to a "diplomatic station", even though U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens is still stationed there. Surveying the layout with his brothers-in-arms, it's clear that if an incident ever happened, the station was sorely lacking in security measures. (Insert politics here.)

On September 11, 2012, everyone at the base stayed indoors and hoped for a peaceful night, but an organized group of terrorists descend on the base. Outgunned and outmanned, the diplomatic station quickly collapses, and the six CIA soldiers a mile away are the only chance to keep those people alive until backup can come, and backup comes several hours too late.

This is one of Michael Bay's better movies. It's based on a true story, and he uses his action chops to bring excitement to an ultimate tragedy. I'm not saying it's as good as a movie as Black Hawk Down (Bay has a way of having the sun go up and down minute by minute so he can have a lot of cool sunrise/sunset shots), but it's a satisfying action thriller from beginning to end. We feel the loss of the comrades, and while Benghazi is remembered as the city where four Americans were killed, this movie shows it was a miracle that the death toll wasn't much, much higher.

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