13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI
SYNOPSIS: From director Michael Bay, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is the gripping true story of six elite ex-military operators assigned to protect the CIA who fought back against overwhelming odds when terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012. When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right. Based on the nonfiction book “13 Hours” by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff and Members of the Annex Security Team.
REVIEW: Filmed on location in Malta and Morocco to represent the Libyan city of Benghazi, the film tells the story of the 2012 terror attack on the city’s US compound and its CIA and special Embassy delegation inhabitants. Screenwriter Chuck Hogan’s (The Town, 2010) begins “13 Hours” with the introductions of the six GRS security personnel soon to be under siege. John Krasinski of “The Office” plays Jack Silva, the most likable of the guys, who has left a wife and children behind to make a living, keep the adrenaline going and serve a higher cause in a dangerous place. James Badge Dale portrays the steadfast Tyrone (Rone) Woods, a natural leader and a bullheaded adversary to the sniveling CIA base chief (David Costabile), who from the story’s perspective symbolizes everything that’s wrong with U.S. foreign policy.
Going in to this flick, it’s important to remember that this is not a typical Hollywood war movie where you have government issued Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen or Marines embarking on a mission to take out bad guys or adversaries with the full support of the US Armed Forces in tow. This is quite simply a movie about private security with a background in in military tactics being able to fight a small, short well contained fight with as little as 6 highly trained American Civilians (and I stress civilians because while they are ex-military, they are only performing in the capacity of hired contracted “Security” in the scenario they were subjected to). Having said that, it is most astonishing that only four Americans were killed: Ambassador Stevens, Foreign Service Information officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
While the movie’s depiction of Libyan militant casualties being somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred is confirmed, on so many levels, these simple facts and the actual scenario is what makes this story so unbelievable and awesome at the same time. It speaks to the level and quality of soldiers trained by our Armed forces. These guys were not only able to survive (for the most part), the onslaught of the heavy arms being used against the team at the time by a large number of radical extremist, but was able inflict casualties in the low triple-digits with the simplest of standard issued automatic weaponry, great tactics and a few tactical items such as night vision goggles.
The idea that these few brave men were able to walk out of said scenario with little to no support from our government or its assets, adds to the greatness of this action flick. The action was A+, with well place actors truly exuding the image, demeanor and poise of actual security contractors usually found in similar hostile environments such as this one. The dialog was entertaining on many levels, including the usual military jargon along with lots of potshot comic relief moments. I particularly liked the level of realism that Director Michael Bay was able to bring to this flick on all levels. His aerial shots were grand and spectacular while the explosions were as realistic as one can expect with very little obvious CGI.
In my opinion the political indictment took place when the film
never once mentioned any of the leaders of our government and
their roles and contributions to the massive failure to protect American lives that night in 2012. It’s quite interesting how this comes just in time for the 2016 presidential election kickoff. Nevertheless, never dull, “13 Hours” gives you a peek at some of that heroism that our current and former GI’s are capable of and lot of what most people actually go to war movies for, ACTION!!!
Needless to say, there are a few minor shortcomings with how the storyline is paced; however, this movie is probably the best military-centric movie we’ll see this year. It is certainly worth watching in any format, whether in theaters, on DVD or Netflix. It deserves four and a half stars out of five for excellence in acting, substance and cinematography.
By Movi-Man Stan
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Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Chuck Hogan, Mitchell Zuckoff
Genre: Action Drama
Duration: 2hr 24 mins
Starring: John Krasinski
James Badge Dale
Producer: Michael Bay
R for strong combat violence
Release Date: January 15, 2016
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