13 hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi


Director: Michael Bay (2016)

No guns are too big in this crunching and confusing action story.

It’s a typically glossy, macho and bombastic encounter from director Michael Bay, the man who unleashed four Transformers movies on the world.

This real story is set in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi.

Lead by the James Badge Dale as former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, six CIA employed mercenaries defend a US compound against a vastly superior force, in Benghazi, Libya.

With sweat, blood, tears and ammo they must hold out until reinforcements arrive.

But local allies can’t be trusted and the US military are held up by diplomacy.

In a weak attempt at humanising the men, we see them posing in cool blue shades and suits, working out and face-timing their families back home.

Presumably because the director can’t abide not having an attractive in his movies, Alexia Barlier is thrust into non-scenes in a non-role as an undercover CIA operative.

Despite the battles being staged on an impressively large scale, it’s a glossy, video game vision of war.

The kinetic camerawork aspires to make the land seem as alien and threatening as possible.

The use of strong colour recalls the work of Tony Scott and the subject matter the superior war film Black Hawk Down (2001) by his brother Ridley. But nothing here is as good as their best work.

Written to sound good in the  trailers, the jargon heavy dialogue is barked between bursts of gunfire.

An anti intellectual script abandons global politics and blames the resourceful men’s predicament firmly on military cutbacks and weak willed pencil pushers.

Not afraid to make comparisons to the famous defence of the Alamo, it’s a hymn to the second amendment right to bear arms and could be interpreted as a call for the US to adopt an isolationist international policy.

As hordes of nameless militia are gunned down with pin point blood splattering accuracy, I often had no idea which of our heroes was whom, making it hard to care who makes it out alive.


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