13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is directed by Michael Bay and stars John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, and Pablo Schreiber. The film is based on the novel, 13 Hours by Mitchell Zukoff, and is the true story of six men who chose to fight off Libyan attackers as they attempted to take down American buildings in Benghazi.
This is a movie that undoubtedly had my interest, but I was certainly skeptical to see how Michael Bay could handle a story like this one. Bay makes the most serious film of his career with 13 Hours, and that is absolutely a compliment. Bay is able to pay respect to the real life story, while also holding back on his typical dry humor and overuse of explosions.
The performances in this movie are all very good as well, with Krasinski proving to be a solid lead. I was very weary when hearing Jim from “The Office” would be the lead of six very impressive military men, but Krasinski got into shape for this role, both mentally and physically.
Bay also is able to get some legitimate emotion in this movie, something he has never done before, and I have to give him some credit for this film. While this is nowhere near a perfect movie, I will get to the flaws in a moment, this movie actually shows some potential for Bay to grow as a filmmaker, and to not make crap for easy money all the time.
As Bay always does, the visual effects and explosives are solid, and some of the camerawork is great, but often there were too many cuts during the action. While I never felt that I was on the verge of vomiting, there were too many jumpy cuts and it became confusing to watch in some crucial moments.
While Bay contained much of his horrible comedy, there were a few “zingers” that he must have felt that he absolutely needed to put in, and they are very obvious. These jokes or somewhat random lines, as always, fall flat on their face, feel out of place, and are incredibly forced.
I understand why this movie avoids it, but I think it could have been interesting if the story would have included some of the political aspects that Benghazi would eventually hold, but instead the movie avoids those altogether.
The first act is really the main issue with 13 Hours because it feels so incredibly long and dry. The opening hour has a few somewhat tense moments, but for the most part, it is used to try to develop these men and to introduce us to Benghazi, but it is way too dull and cheesy to work at all. This leads to the movie feeling about twenty minutes too long, and with a 144-minute runtime, shaving twenty minutes off could have been favorable.
Overall, 13 Hours is a nice surprise for a Michael Bay directed film in the middle of January. I expected the worst, and got something pretty good, and that’s all I could really ask for. The action is intense, the performances are solid, and while this film surely has its flaws, Michael Bay actually tried on this movie, and I have to reward that with a positive score.
What is your favorite Michael Bay movie? Comment below with what you think.