13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazi

“Okay, so here’s the turn of events that led to this weekend’s movie selection. Bear with me, or just skip this paragraph. The previous week, I was supposta have a wisdom tooth taken out on Fri afternoon. I planned a 3 movie marathon for Saturday, to which I would smuggle in some pb&j sandwiches and take it easy. Then my appointment got pushed back a week (dentist went to the hospital with chest pains or something…don’t worry, he seems fine now). That’s cool, I can just marathon this week. I was hoping to do The Forest, Daddy’s Home, and Point Break. Flash forward to when the movie times are released. Point Break is gone (no big loss). The Forest’s earliest show is after noon, thus costing me an extra few bucks and a few good hours. Daddy’s Home doesn’t have times that play nice with anything else. I reevaluated this week’s new releases. Norm of the North? Nope. Ride Along 2? Only if I have to. 13 Hours? Hmm, this could work. The times are favorable. But I know nothing about it. *quick research* Michael Bay and 2.5 hours? No thanks. But it’s the only thing that works. Plus, John Krasinski. We like him. Okay fine, we’ll try it, with two worst case scenario options: bailing early for Daddy’s Home or just passing out and taking a nap. The Forest has a workable time after that. This should suffice.

Here’s the short version: this is probably the least Michael Bay-ish Michael Bay film I’ve seen, which is a very good thing. Okay, so he still included way more action sequences than needed, but at least they didn’t have quick cuts like they were made by an ADD 12 year old making a music video. Let’s back up a bit.

I learn so much from movies. I’m savvy enough to understand that most of the events are dramatized, and not meant to depict exactly what happened. But I am able to pick out the base facts and find out some things I didn’t know. Just the first two minutes of this film taught me a lot some slightly less than current events I knew nothing about, mostly because I read more entertainment news than world news, a fact I cop to openly. This movie centers around a group of ex-military men who act as security around a covert CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya. Because of the intense violence and unrest in the area, it was one of the last such compounds in the country. On Sep 11, 2012 there was an attack on the American embassy that eventually spread to that compound. The mean leading this story were the ones who fought back. I don’t think there’s a single thing in this paragraph that I knew 30 hours ago (as of writing, not posting).

The movie was fascinating. I’m surprised it got such a low key release, since it follows in the same spirit as Lone Survivor and American Sniper, both of which were very well received. Most of it is structured around those six men. John Krasinski’s Jack was returning to the area, and its thru his eyes we see most of it. James Badge Dale (whom I still remember fondly from season 3 I think of 24), as Tyrone, is the leader of the security detail. Learning about them and their team was what really got me invested in the movie, instead of it just being a dry modern day battle film, which is what I had been concerned about.

The way the action unfolds is very suspenseful and tense. Again, not knowing my (recent) history very well, I had no idea how it would all unfold. Sometimes ignorance is helpful that way, shameful as it may be (again, full responsibility accepted). Yes, as previously stated, I do think a lot of it went on too long. If there’s one thing Bay has never learned, it’s how to kill his darlings when it comes to action and keep only what’s necessary (Transformers 3 anyone?).

I also never ever would have taken Krasinski for a Navy SEAL, ever! Homeboy pulled it off though! He hid from the world for a few months as he got in (fantastic) shape and really pushed his boundaries going stoic over his signature comedic. Very much interested in seeing more of this from him! The rest of the guys were pretty great too! Again, lots of attention to the characters, which goes such a long way for this type of movie.

Writing this now, I really am grateful that the movie scheduled worked out such that I was essentially forced to see this. Not a perfect film by any means, but an important one. I honestly learned a whole lot and was entertained at the same time. One of those is more important that the other.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – \m/ \m/ \m/”

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