13 Hours review
Most Americans have the notion that they have the greatest military and strategic force. Combining their strength, training, and overwhelmingly patriotic attitude, and a solider is supposedly no match for a Taliban or a member of ISIS. The heart seems to be in the right place, but often we forgot to consider the hearts of those that are not American. I’m also a supporter of the strong military defenses and the people that fill those dirty boots. Though now that I’ve studied abroad, I’ve gotten a better idea that most countries have their own patriotic slogans with none that read, “We’re number two!”.
It’s not just the military bases that are all over the world, but the various CIA, FBI and simple representatives of the U.S.A. that are so frequent, that it’s no wonder that they’ve gotten the nickname, “police of the world”. In a way, it’s true as they are seemingly ready for any kind of attack or initiative to help regardless if help from America is wanted. One such response came from Islamic militia’s when they assaulted on two American compounds in Benghazi in 2012, including one where the U.S. Ambassador lived. Their story is told by Michael Bay in 13 Hours.
In early 2012, Navy SEAL Jack Da Silva (played by John Krasinski) is returning to Benghazi to take up a security post for the nearby CIA Annex along with six other SEALS whose job is to be “last responders” to any trouble that their building or the nearby ambassador may be facing. The country of Libya has just gone through a revolution that has taken down a long-standing dictator. One vice has been traded for another as various gangs have seized control of the former dictators weapons, turning Benghazi into a warzone as several sides fight to claim the city in their honors.
Even with an incident arriving into the country, Jack and the other security team don’t face much trouble until September 11th. The day is being remembered for the tragedies that happened in 2001, but local Islamic groups have decided to use this day to make their mark. The ambassador’s house is attacked and the security team there is overwhelmed by groups that we would later identify as the early ISIS. Jack is scrambling with the other guys as they hear from their leader Tyrone Woods (played by James Badge Dale) that he wants the guys to defy their rules in order to try and save the ambassador.
A story like 13 Hours seems like the kind of serious geopolitical story that would have caught the interest of Kathryn Bigelow or Clint Eastwood. But it surprised me that Michael Bay, whose mostly known for his Transformers movies, wanted to take a stab at this historical story. His first attempt at a historical story, Pearl Harbor, suffered from inaccuracies, childish dialogue, and a romance that had nothing to do with the actual event. None of that (almost none...there is still some silly writing) is evident here as Michael Bay has decidedly gone with a more “fact-for-fact” basis.
The “fact-for-fact” definition is what probably happened during the attacks. So for those that were hoping for more on the political issue, you’ll be disappointed. At least Bay does put his focus on the attacks, which actually do have some well staged war action. Action fans will probably be satisfied, though one thing was missing for me that this movie really needed; relatable characters. Most of the six solders are all the same “macho military” stereotypes that do little to distinguish themselves (it doesn’t help that all of them have beards, making it hard to tell them apart).
I’ll give this three Libyan flags out of five. I was surprised with how mature Michael Bay is trying to be with this real life story. It’s a shame he still can’t shake off his bad writers from giving him a suitable screenplay that might give him a bigger chance to shine. 13 Hours is a serviceable action film rather then a genuine look into a major political issue on the right of the U.S. to be in a place where their not wanted. I might have been closer to enjoying this had it been twenty minutes shorter. I can’t give it too much trouble for trying it’s hardest and giving us something rather then nothing.