During an attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.
After recently binge-watching Jack Ryan Season 2 on Amazon Prime, I had a sudden urge to review a John Krasinski movie and whereas most people will be familiar with this actor from his role on the NBC sitcom ‘The Office’, besides bit parts and some supporting roles in comedies, my full introduction to his work was from watching 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi and I have been hooked to his career ever since.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is the true story of 6 former soldiers assigned to protect CIA operatives in Libya. The team is thrown into a fierce firefight when their compound is attacked by waves of Islamic militants. Knowing the movie was directed by Michael Bay, I was expecting all of his typical traits which normally includes style over substance with over the top action sequences, bland characters and flat humour, however I am pleased to announce that this movie does not include any of those flaws.
I’m not saying I dislike Bay’s movies, he just has a particular flair and although this movie does include many explosions and graphic violence, the story and its characters are handled exceptionally well. Bay had an obligation to deliver a powerful and realistic depiction of the events that occurred, and this is proof he can create captivating movies when given the right story and a cast/crew who are passionate about the project.
Michael Bay and Cinematographer Dion Beebe succeeded at putting the audience in the centre of the battlefield, the visuals create a real sense of threat and a tense atmosphere. The movie opens with real-life footage of Gaddafi’s capture moments before his death, we are then introduced to Jack Silva (Krasinski) arriving in a war-torn Libya by being shown striking images of the local militias patrolling the streets and an arsenal of weapons being sold on street carts.
The camera angles really throw us into the action, there is mixture of birds eye view and wide shots to establish the surroundings and how trapped the residents of the compound were. There are also shots in first-person through night vision goggles or looking through a riflescope and this puts us in the boots of the soldiers.
A welcome addition to this movie which Michael Bay normally skips out on is the character development, mostly used to build on John Krasinski’s character and his struggles with being away from his family. Other characters do feel side-lined however it’s not enough to lose interest, and Bay does try to expand on their individual stories by showing the squad members call home and speak with their loved ones before the fighting starts.
A complaint I often hear when discussing this movie is some viewers were unclear on why the compound was attacked at all, and I must admit the first time watching this move I wasn’t entirely sure. Because I live in the UK, I was not familiar with this story, nor have I read the book the movie is based on. However, my perception was this was deliberate as I don’t believe the soldiers or the men and woman they were protecting fully understood what was happening.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it, whether you’re a fan of movies based on true stories or enjoy high octane action movies, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi ticks the boxes.