An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos. Everything went wrong, but 6 men had the courage to do what was right.
When it comes to seeing the name Michael Bay on a movie poster or in a trailer, people assume it will be the same thing that it always is: too many explosions and too much action with not a great story. 13 Hours is the great exception.
13 Hours is the true story of 6 soldiers, a team of elite operatives, who, against all the odds, attempt to defend their US embassy from revolting citizens of Benghazi, Libya. When watching 13 Hours, it doesn't feel like just another war movie. Not only does the fact of it being a true story weigh on your shoulders while watching, but it is also written in a manner that really puts you in the perspective of war and of these soldiers: It happens so suddenly that you can go from calm and relaxed to geared up and fighting for your life in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. That's something I haven't seen happen as realistically as it did in a movie. They were literally gearing up as they were under attack. All this to say, 13 Hours definitely provided a new realism to the war story that many haven't used before.
Michael Bay (Armageddon, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) did an excellent job with this movie. Many of the camera shots were engineered so as to put the audience right there with these guys, and it gave the audience a new depth to the movie that I really appreciated. It made us feel more like we were actually in the fight with these men. Bay also found a movie where he could finally use as many explosions as he wanted to and still have it be appropriate. I think Michael Bay may have found a film genre that he should stick to because he just did so well with this one.
The acting in this movie was absolutely superb from everyone. John Krasinski (The Office, Monsters University, Aloha), James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3, World War Z, The Lone Ranger), Pablo Schreiber (Lords of Dogtown, Law & Order: SVU, Orange is the New Black), David Denman (The Office, After Earth, The Gift), Dominic Fumusa (Management, Nurse Jackie, Focus), and Max Martini (Saving Private Ryan, Pacific Rim, Captain Philips) are a cast that I, for one, would not want to go up against when the Oscars come around. They embody their roles so well that you forget that you're watching a movie and not an actual live feel of events, which further compliments the script and direction from Michael Bay.
The effects were absolutely spectacular. Most of them were practical (other than the things that had to be animated so people didn't actually die, including one particularly gruesome injury to one of the men, which had to be animated, otherwise I even further commend the practicality of the movie); even the people getting shot and killed, while the effects were practical, they were engineered so you could almost see the bullet exiting their bodies. The effects in this movie were the icing on the cake for a great war movie like this.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an intense display that realistically shows the hostility and brutality of war. Full of emotion, action, bravery, and character, it truly defines itself and stands out among the many war movies out there; and the fact that it is a true story just makes it even more of an eye-opener to nearly anybody who watches it. One of Michael Bay's best yet, and one of the better films of its genre.