13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


Smart and shouty. A classic Michael Bay action piece Discuss this article

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Finally, the director we’ve all been waiting for, Michael Bay (Transformers), weighs in on the most complex and controversial episode of American military history in recent years: the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. In fact, Bay hasn’t done that bad a job. He still loves his American flags, and he’ll always be on shaky ground when a movie’s plot basically turns on a bunch of heavily armed bros stranded in a parking lot, waiting for a rescue go-ahead that comes too late.

But when 13 Hours turns into the two-hour action symphony it can barely wait to become – a harrowing stretch of shadowy aggressors charging a compound, bullets pinging off metal, spent ammo casings showering cement underfoot, endless carnage – Bay is in his element.

This is some of the most concentrated work he has ever done, creating a fully intentional chaos as fitting to Benghazi’s Alamo-like stand-off as Steven Spielberg’s was to the Normandy landings.

There’s little political commentary here, and the screenplay has a hard time carving out distinctive characters from all the anonymous warriors.

The final word on this incident will require a more thoughtful filmmaker, but hopefully that artist will possess at least half of Bay’s punishing, peerless craft.

The bottom line Smart and shouty. A classic Michael Bay action piece.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Doha,

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

  • Duration: 144
  • Released: Thu, 03 Mar
  • Language: English
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Stars: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale

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