13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi review

Make no mistake, the men and women that survived this ordeal are heroes. They pulled through one of the most fearsome attacks on foreign nationals in Libya. They deserved the medals they were given. To continue to protect their US compound when the ambassador had been killed is pure bravery.

It’s a story that is perfect for Hollywood, and in the hands of most directors this movie would have been about bravery. But Michael Bay is not most directors; he is a man with an eye for the flashy, and story seems to take a backseat with most of his movies. Here he is dealing with a very real subject, and you might think that he would tread lightly – but NOPE! As usual, he busts down the metaphorical door and fires off his USA!!-branded style of directing.

The first hour plays like a The Bodyguard in Benghazi (The Benghazi Bodyguard would have been a better title) with scenes of the lads grumbling that they don’t do limo service – classic "ladz" banter. The security team are played by known faces but not names. The vaguely recognisable Krasinski, previously a goof in The US Office, has bulked up and is now playing Ben Affleck playing a shoot-em-up war game. With all the macho ladz having gruffty beards, the movie feels like some sort of weird beard-off fashion show injected with "lad bantz" that is truly painful to hear, and it's tough to watch actors deliver these lines – it’s all so forced, and includes some woeful attempts at adding tension to a seemingly innocuous drive through the Benghazi streets. The constantly-thundering music penetrates the calm scenes and forces the viewer to believe something could happen at any minute, even when the ladz are playing Xbox or Skyping with family. There is one musical score and it’s a thundering rumble of painful proportions.

Michael Bay has made another Transformers movie without any Transformers involved. Instead, he has replaced them with those evil foreigners who want to do harm to America

Once the US Ambassador is killed (not through eating too many Ferrero Roche I might add), the film moves back to the ladz' compound where we discover there are actually more people in the film – a whole group of tech advisers and the like. But they are in the bunkers, tucked away from sight, so there is no need to involve them in the main storyline. Oh, apart from the token female – who, surprisingly for a Michael Bay film, isn’t wearing a bikini all the time but actually is involved in the project. However, her screen time extends to being pulled out of meetings and answering the phone. Back to the ladz defending the compound, all on the roof tops as the Libyans begin to strike. What follows is a little over an hour of mindless guns, grenades and mortars exploding all over the shaky camerawork. It’s an unrelenting final third that makes guns look sexy (oooooh, slow-mo shots of reloading – phwoarrrr) and ladz shouting tally-ho cries such as: “Go down shooting, balls out!”

Michael Bay has made another Transformers movie without any Transformers involved. Instead, he has replaced them with those evil foreigners who want to do harm to America. It’s a film that strikes fear into the hearts of anyone non-American and/or doesn’t like guns. It’s a US political rallying cry for how great guns are and how they are needed to protect against Johnny Foreigner. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is like watching Fox News while a military sergeant screams “America rulez OK” for 144 minutes.

Mark Searby is a Screenjabber contributor

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