13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

2016. Directed by Michael Bay

Michael Bay needs to stick with this type of film. 13 Hours is an intimate, ground level, in your face war story that ultimately delivers a solid entry into the action genre.

The strength of this film is in the choreography of the fight scenes. They're so well done it feels as if Bay is just backstroking along, using all his familiar tricks with perfection. It's not the crown holder of action films, but it's expert execution and relentless pace mark it as a senior among the freshmen straight to on demand crowd.

If I had to point to a weakness, its the script. Cliche' after cliche' and virtual every American and Enemy archetype is present in the film. The heroes are absolute bad asses. The CIA guy is of course obtuse and in the way. The enemies are savage and virtually faceless, which I concede is an issue.

However, in defense of this film I will return to my initial point. This is an action film. Action is the main character, the only thing that matters in this film. The characters, their families, even their (in some cases) sacrifices are second fiddle to the gun play, explosions, and tactical mastery on display.

As to the cast, James Badge Dale is the standout, as he chews up the scenery with intensity and stone cold commitment in every shot he's in.

I feel the film worked hard to focus on the events as they transpired and left the politics of the situation out of it. However, as film goers, we can't help what we bring into the theater, so it makes sense to me how one side could view this as propaganda and the other side could view this as...propaganda. I'll let each of you decide that on your own. I talk about films, not politics these days.

In the end, I feel like we need more action films like this one these days. In a time when the cinema is inundated with giant robots, spandex costumes, and pointless sequels, this film was a nice change of scenery. A war film that focused on the action rather than trying to make a statement about the right or wrongness of the situation.

Available on Amazon, Vudu, & Itunes for streaming rental.

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