By Mandela Wells
Michael Bay is known for his high octane, explosion and adrenaline fueled action films that adhere mainly to teens and young adults. Bay has rarely dealt with material that isn’t like a summer blockbuster. The only time I recall him doing this was with “Pearl Harbor” back in 2001 but that unfortunately turned out to be a flop. “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is a refreshing departure from the “Transformers” and “Bad Boys” film we’ve come to know him for. It is a real story that is incredible to learn about but unfortunately the film has some flaws that hinder it from being the first great film of 2016.
The story revolves around a small group of special force operatives who are based in Libya doing contract work for the military. One of their jobs involves protect the American embassy from Islamic militants within the city of Benghazi. On September 11th, 2012, these militants attacked the embassy and the U.S ambassador Chris Stevens. The small band of soldiers decided that despite overwhelming numbers that they were going to fight back and defend the embassy. The movie chronicles their nightmarish night on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” was pretty good but I couldn’t help but notice how much it mirrors “Black Hawk Down.” It might as well be considered “Black Hawk Down 2”. The Only difference between the two is most of the cast are relatively unknowns except John Krasinski who’s had a long run with the office. The story was just about the exact same as “Black Hawk Down”, a small band of soldiers having to fight off a city worth of rebel fighters in an African country. It was intense and as hard-hitting as BKW. I was a little disappointed that’s what it turned out to be. However it is still amazing the real story nonetheless.
The editing and cinematography was kind of confusing at times especially when deciphering the time during the 24 hour battle. Thanks to this I couldn’t tell if it was day or night. The cinematography was also very similar to BKW but it was not bad by any means and brought a different feel than past films by Bay. Bay’s directing more grounded, and mature piece of work. This is a much better war film than “Pearl Harbor” for sure. He used different kinds of camera angles this time than any of his previous films and even utilized some of Michael Mann’s techniques, which was cool.
The acting in this film was actually good I cannot lie. John Krasinksi did a fantastic job in this rare dramatic role. He was intense, smart and showed the will of a warrior in this role as Jack Da Silva. James Badge Dale also did a phenomenal job in this breakout role. Tyrone was the heart and soul of this team and led the operation so valiantly and Dale really captured that in this role. Pablo Schreiber also did a fine job in a role different than others I’ve seen from him which have mainly been in the television world
Overall this was a decent January picture. I’d give it 3 stars on 5 star rating scale. If you like action films you will probably enjoy this.
Image by Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13_Hours:_The_Secret_Soldiers_of_Benghazi)