“You’re not giving orders. You’re in my world now.”
Michael Bay the man infamous for his love of explosions, fast cars, giant robots, sunsets, and beautiful women takes on the real life story behind the 2012 Benghazi attacks. So does Michael Bay still use his over the top firework explosions? Yes. Is the movie over-saturated like other Bay outings? Yes. Is the movie filled with an absurd amount of sunsets? Yes. Is 13 Hours an enjoyable movie? Surprisingly, yes.
Bay’s direction is surprisingly well balanced as he manages to build scenes around a well paced narrative, props to the screenplay, and manages to build scenes that are driven by tension and performances.The characters are, for the most part, adequate in representing their role to the story and adding their own touch to the script’s voice. However, the two standouts of the film are James Badge Dale as Tyrone S. “Rone” Woods and John Krasinski as Jack DaSilva as both men give emotionally driven performances and demonstrate that they have the ability to be top cavalier action movie stars. Dale gives a performance that evokes leadership, selflessness, hearoism, and heartfelt loss and guilt making Dale’s performance the most complex and intriguing in the film. Meanwhile, Krasinski gives a performance where he shows a grand emotional range demonstrating both rage, loss, and bravery with passion making it difficult to believe that he is not feeling the same emotions as his character.
Unlike his previous directorial outings Michael Bay is able to direct his actors in such a manner in which their performances are what added emotion and weight to the grand scale set pieces making the battles feel like a personal war of emotion and loss. Despite all the positive material that Bay managed to produce the film’s overall feel seem to be weighted down by his occasional slip into his more glamourous taste for sunsets, and miniscule instances of Bay’s juvenile humor.
However, the pace, small scale action sequences, set designs, performances, narrative driven tension, and overall direction make 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Michael Bay’s best theatrical outing since 1996’s The Rock. It is a not a perfect movie by any means and it does not fully explore the full scope, or politics, of the events surrounding the 2012 Benghazi attacks, but the film is an entertaining action thriller that shows a level of respect to a real life event and the people involved in it. Overall, 13 Hours is a tale of heroism that sets out to deliver genuine heart and light to darkness that is in the horrors and desolation of war.