NON HORROR REVIEW- As I begin to mentally digest what I’ve just watched, I have to keep reminding myself, that this is only entertainment, yet it’s impossible to ignore the implications involved within a “true story” based film such as Michael Bay’s ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.’
In fact, this ridiculous attempt at a film is sadly way more than mere entertainment, as the roots of this real life story begin just over three years ago and have an erroneous influence on the average audience in the United States, which is sadly misinformed and easily swayed.
Bay’s lack of finesse fires on all cylinders, focusing on the “heroism” of six ex-military Americans instead of properly prepping viewers up with a more informational introduction and finale.
As a trade off for that essential material, Bay shows a lengthy, sappy and emotionally embarrassing sequence that includes the wife of one of the soldiers having a breakdown in a McDonald’s drive-though. Crying while exclaiming something along the lines of “I don’t care, just give me six of whatever you have” as the six children are screaming, chanting and yelling in the back seat. How truly American, Mr. Bay.
Not long after those scenes, what we get is simple and fundamentally not far from the logic of the attackers of this real life tragedy, and that is glorification and justification of strong arming superiors, breaking laws, rules and chain of command for what these six men thought were right.
They do this no matter what the implications or inconsistencies that their actions place on our basic principles as a nation and now more men and women will be tempted to do the same thanks to this messy movie. Fighting among their own in little secret sects instead of any kind of unification or logistical logic that the “missions” were loosely directed to be. And that, is all too real. That’s where it’s impossible to extract the mere entertainment value out of ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.’
I won’t dip much more into those aspects, aside from mentioning in the cinema that I attended, some of the attendees stood up and cheered several times when an insurgent would get blown up or killed in such brutal ways and I can’t help from feeling as if that was Bay’s intention all along. Culturally, we have to do better as a nation, but I know as long as there is a demand there will be a supply of toxic tattered trash and the blame is no single person’s, it’s only a perpetual cycle that I even paid the price of admission to “endorse.”
Structurally the film works well, it has Bay’s redundancy all throughout the two hours and twenty four minutes of run-time. A few times I was expecting to see Optimus Prime pop out of the director’s location pans, which are undeniably beautiful. Youssef El Mejjad’s score/soundtrack was terribly tacky and reaching for elements of heroism that should have been absent.
The casting was a damned mess, with the worst fit being David Costabile as C.I.A. Chief, “Bob,” who was at times impossible to connect with or even watch. The diamond in the really, really rough acting was Pablo Schreiber, (Orange Is The New Black) a saving grace at the most opportune moments.
The scenes of gore and fighting were intense, but by the third wave, I began to tell myself, that this is more than just entertainment. It’s justifying what shouldn’t be justified and igniting a whole new fire while feeding fuel to an existing one.
With all this said, I do recommend this film to mature audiences that are aware of the reality of our nation and can extract the entertainment value from ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.’ I then encourage the same viewers to do some research on that day in our history and find some interviews from some of the people that were actually in the middle of such a dark and dismal day.