13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Made exclusively for the American audience & mostly appealing to those who need their daily dose of “hooah”, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (simply known as 13 Hours) suffers from the same set of issues that plague majority of Hollywood war flicks and while it is absolutely loathsome as far as its banal script goes, its thrilling action segments do lift things up by a few notches.
13 Hours is a re-enactment of the incident that took place on the evening of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya when two American compounds came under attack from Islamic militants. The plot follows six members of the security personnel, assigned to protect the covert CIA base, and covers their night-long attempt to prevent the terrorists from storming into the compound while hoping for some help to arrive.
Directed by Michael Bay, 13 Hours isn’t as facepalm-inducing as his best-known flicks and actually becomes quite gripping once all hell breaks loose but the script is detestable. And this time, it isn’t the clichéd plot or wooden characters that are its main cause of concern but the political stance it takes to depict the whole event, which further fuels the nonsensical belief a certain section of society has regarding the Middle-East.
Filled with dialogues like, “you can’t tell the good guys from the bad” or “they are all bad guys until they are not“, the film echoes the “all Muslims are terrorists” attitude that many idiots easily buy into and in that regard, it isn’t just worrisome but dangerous as well. However, even if one sidelines its political agenda, the film remains mediocre in content as there isn’t one distinguishable character in the movie plus its dramatic portions are no match to its combat sequences.
On the technical scale, 13 Hours scores pretty well. The action-laden moments are choreographed to near-perfection and presents the field of battle in its raw & chaotic form, with bullets & RPGs flying in all directions. The handheld camerawork brilliantly reflects the disorderly carnage of warfare, and its colour hues & chosen camera angles further intensify the experience. Editing isn’t entirely up to the mark, performances are average at best, and the background score is simply forgettable.
On an overall scale, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is at its most riveting when shells & cartridges take the centerstage from its uninspiring drama, for it really delivers in that department with plenty of violence, gore & mayhem. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing commendable about Michael Bay’s latest. Drenched in jingoistic glory, painting a detrimental image of Libya, and filled with characters no one gives a damn about, 13 Hours is another middling entry in the long list of typical self-indulgent American propaganda flicks.