I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a fan of Michael Bay. Yes, a lot of people criticize him for… well, lots of reasons, but I always look forward to his films, because you know what you’re going to get. Big, dumb fun. Yet here we have his most recent film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, a true story of heroism in war-time. Now, this is obviously a more sensitive topic than we’re used to seeing Bay handle, and with recent films like American Sniper and Lone Survivor disappointing me to say the least, there was the potential for this to be a huge let down.
In 2012 (which is already an acceptable time period to make films about apparently), an American ambassador was attacked on the anniversary of 9/11. 13 Hours is the story of six soldiers who attempt to rescue him, and then defend themselves and their ‘secret CIA base’ against the waves of terrorists that followed.
So this is as much of a sensitive topic as you would imagine, and I’m pleased to say that Michael Bay (king of heavy-handedness) handled it perfectly. There are a few moments of ‘AMERICA YEAH’ sprinkled throughout, however they all feel natural and not forced in for U.S. audiences. On top of that, while the events are mostly shown from the American point of view, you do get to see both sides of the conflict, and you understand why everybody is fighting.
The action in this film is also incredibly well handled. It’s realistic but still cinematic, and it gets very gruesome at times. The cast is also suitably macho but again believable, especially John Krasinski, who has a much different turn here than in the role that made him famous in The Office.
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