’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’ Review

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Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Chuck Hogan

Cast: James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Alexia Barlier, Peyman Moaadi, David Giuntoli, Demetrius Grosse, Toby Stephens, Matt Letscher, and David Costabile

Synopsis: An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Based on the book my Mitchell Zuckoff and inspired by the real life events that happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi focuses more on the action and soldiers than it does with the geopolitical issue. Being directed by Michael Bay, you can only assume what you’re walking into action-wise, but despite my dislike for Bay and his recent movies, this is better than I had thought it would be. But if you’re looking for a more political aspect while watching, you’ll be left out in the cold.

13 Hours follows a team of former Special Forces ops who have turned into security contractors to watch over secret CIA installations in Benghazi. The team is lead by Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods (Dale) who brings in an old friend in Jack Silva (Krasinski). When Silva arrives at the CIA outpost he meets the rest of the team in Kris ‘Tanto’ (Schreiber), John ‘Tig’ Tiegen (Fumusa), Dave ‘Boon’ Benton (Denman), and Mark ‘Oz’ Geist (Martini). We follow the team as they help out with some assignments that include helping/protecting Sona Jillani (Barlier) make a deal with a native, and helping more contractors in Dave Ubben (Grosse) and Scott Wickland (Giuntoll) help protect U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens (Letscher).

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Boon (David Denman), Jack Silva (John Krasinski), Tig (Dominic Fumusa), Tanto (Pablo Schreiber)

As we now know, something terrible happens and during the anniversary of September 11, Anti-American Libyans attack the CIA outposts. This leads our heroes to pick up their weapons and go against orders by the station chief, Bob (Costabile) to fight. What follows is the team protecting everyone in the station from a siege where they can’t tell who is there to help or kill them.

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Again, it’s directed by Michael Bay, so you know what to expect when you watching the action. I’m not saying the action is bad either. It’s actual nice to see a action film with Bay’s name on it that doesn’t include CGI robots hitting each other. Not saying the action is always easy to follow. It’s sometimes hard to make out who are heroes are from time to time, but if you want action, there is plenty of it in 13 Hours, and thankfully the majority of it is worthwhile.

That being said, the action can’t hold a whole movie together and 13 Hours would have feel shorter if it weren’t for the some of the cast. Before I get to them, I do want to mention that despite the little nuggets that every character gets, it isn’t until around the end of the movie that we finally start to get to really know them. Every character has their own traits and nuances, but again, it isn’t until around the end of the movie that we finally get to know them and what makes them tick a little more. Is it enough to root for them because they are the heroes of the movie? Take away the fact that all these people are based on real people that went through this terrible situation and event, but sometimes that isn’t enough, and other real life war events like this have done better at making us care about the character way before the end of the movie. That isn’t a knock on the real people that went through this, some of them even helped the crew to make the events more real, but I want to know more about a character and feel more for them, especially if there is a chance we may not see them make it until the end.

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Now thankfully, the cast do great with what they have. John Krasinski, who got really ripped for the role, is one of the most well-rounded characters, since he is the lead along with James Badge Dale’s ‘Rone.’ I’m glad to see Dale get a lead role because I think he’s one of the best underappreciated and unknown actors around. Pablo Schreiber’s ‘Tanto’ is the comic relief-type character, Dominic Fumusa’s ‘Tig,’ David Denman’s ‘Boon’ and Max Martini’s ‘Oz’ have their moments to shine, but are more background characters. David Costabile’s Station Chief Bob is the no-nonsense and dickish character that doesn’t think too highly of the group until they are his only hope to survive.

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Again, if you’re looking for a geopolitical movie that delves deeper into what happen in Benghazi, this isn’t a movie for you. This is an action movie about the guys on the ground that did everything they could and fought off everyone that came at them, and the people they protected that night. You do feel for the characters during this, despite what I said earlier, but not as much as we could if we got to know them more at the beginning of middle of the film. The film does touch on politics a bit when Bob and the people inside the compound try to get help, but that’s about it.

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All in all, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is much more of an action movie than it is a drama or even an action movie with political undertones. Instead Michael Bay decides to focus on the men that put their lives on the line and lets us see what they went through to survive. With solid leads in James Badge Dale and John Krasinski and some worthwhile action, 13 Hours is worth the watch.

 

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

3.5 out of 5

January Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in December so there is also that to look forward to.

 

You’ll notice that I will put the companies attached and responsible for releasing the film as well. Just trying something new to expand the page a bit.

 

 

1st

Expansion/Wide Release: The Hateful Eight

 

8th

Expansion/Wide Release: The Revenant

 

The Masked Saint (Action/Biography – Freestyle Releasing/P23 Entertainment/Ridgerock Entertainment Group)

The film is based on a true story about one pastor’s mission to help his community by risking his identity and returns to his former life as a wrestler. The triumphant story follows one man’s journey and struggle between helping others and the consequences he faces doing this. The film kind of showed up out of nowhere so I don’t know if the film will find a massive audience. The film stars Brett Granstaff, Lara Jean Chorostecki, T.J. McGibbon, Diahann Carroll and Roddy Pipper.

 

The Forest (Horror – Focus Features/Lava Bear Films/Gramercy Pictures)

Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer leads this creepy looking horror film about a sister on the search for her twin in one of the most haunted areas in the world, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji known as Aokigahara aka Suicide Forest. The film also stars Taylor Kinney (NBC’s Chicago Fire).

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15th

Norm of the North (Animation – Lionsgate/Splash Entertainment/Telegael)

The film follows a polar bear named Norm (voiced by Rob Schneider), who along with three little creatures, winds up in New York City to convince humans to not move to his Arctic home. The film doesn’t look like too much for me, but kids will probably enjoy it. The voice cast also includes Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Colm Meaney, Gabriel Iglesias, and Bill Nighy.

 

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Drama/Action – Paramount Pictures/Latina Pictures/3 Arts Entertainment)

Michael Bay directs the action drama thriller about the much talked event in Benghazi when an American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S compound. The film follows a security team as they try to make sense of the situation and try to save the remaining survivors. The film looks okay abut it still looks very Bay-y. The cast includes John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, and David Costabile.

 

Ride Along 2 (Action Comedy – Universal Pictures/Cube Vision/Will Packer Productions)

I enjoyed the first Ride Along, so I’m kind of looking forward to this one. The film follows Ben (Kevin Hart) and James (Ice Cube) as they head to Miami to stop a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers in Atlanta. The problem is that Ben is getting married to James’ sister soon. The film looks like they are upping the ante a bit, but keeping the humor intact which is good. The rest of the cast stars Olivia Munn, Ken Jeonh, Glen Powell, Nadine Velazquez, Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd, T.I., and Benjamin Bratt.

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22nd

Limited Release: Ip Man 3 (Action – Well Go USA)

The third installment – and potentially last – of the Ip Man series that stars Donnie Yen as the famous Yip Man, who is the last man standing for a city that is being shaken down by a band of brutal gangsters and a crooked property developer. I loved the first two installments and I can’t wait to see what they do this one. The film will also star Mike Tyson (not as himself) and Kwok-Kwan Chan as Bruce Lee.

 

Limited Release: Mojave (Thriller – A24/Atlas Independent/Henceforth Pictures)

Directed by William Monahan – writer of films like Kingdom of Heaven and The DepartedMojave follows a suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) as he goes into the desert, where he find his doppelganger (Oscar Isaac) who happens to be a homicidal drifter. I honestly don’t know what to think of the film. Monahan is great, but judging by the trailers, the film doesn’t look all that great. Maybe their is more too it, hopefully, especially with Oscar Isaac attached. Mojave also stars Walton Goggins, Louis Bourgoin, and Mark Wahlberg (who is nowhere in the promotional material mind you).

 

The Boy (Horror Thriller– Lakeshore Entertainment/Vertigo Entertainment/STX Entertainment)

The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan stars as an American nanny who goes to England to be shocked that the boy she is suppose to take care of for an important English family is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of rules, disturbing events start to make her believe that the doll is involved somehow. The movie looks kind of creepy – it does have a creepy doll after all – so let’s hope it turns out more than the trailer lets on. Rupert Evans and Ben Robson also star.

 

Dirty Grandpa (Comedy – Lionsgate/QED International/Josephson Entertainment/Ninjas Runnin’ Wild Productions)

Zac Efron stars in the comedy about an uptight guy that is tricked into driving his grandfather, played by Robert De Niro, a perverted former Army general to Florida for Spring Break, right before he gets married. The looks okay, I’m not dying to watch it, but will probably will end up watching it anyway. Because, well, it’s a movie. The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza and Julianne Hough.

 

The 5th Wave (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/GK Films/LStar Capital)

Based on the book by the same name by Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave follows Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she tries to survive the now post-apocalyptic Earth after four deadly waves from aliens know as “The Others” has left nothing left. The only thing driving Cassie, besides survival, is finding her little brother. Meanwhile, Earth’s last remaining military try to stop “The Others” last wave to wipe out Earth. I’ve read the book and the book has its great moments, but everything I’ve seen for the film makes it look painfully generic, so I hope that the film come out better than the trailers. The rest of the cast includes Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Zackary Arthur, Tony Revolori, Maria Bello, Ron Livingston and Liev Schreiber.

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29th

Fifty Shades of Black (Comedy – Open Road Films/IM Global)

A Marlon Wayans-lead parody of the novel and film 50 Shades of Grey. The film looks like nothing more of what he’s done in the past. The film also stars Jane Seymour, Kali Hawk, and Mike Epps.

 

Jane Got a Gun (Western – The Weinstein Company/1821 Pictures/Scott Pictures/Handsomecharlie Films/Unanimous Pictures)

Riddled with production problems, Jane Got a Gun is finally coming out! The film follows Jane (Natalie Portman) who asks her former lover (Joel Edgerton) for help in order to save her outlaw husband (Noah Emmerich) from a gang, lead by Ewan McGregor, that want to kill them. At this point, I’m just happy the film is coming out and that it looks pretty descent. The film also stars Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook, Alex Manette, and Todd Stashwick.

 

The Finest Hours (Drama Thriller – Walt Disney Pictures/Whitaker Entertainment)

Based on the real life event, The Finest Hours follows The Coast Guard making a daring rescue attempting of the coast in Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroying during a blizzard in 1952. The film looks great and is filled with a great cast of Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger, Rachel Brosnahan and Eric Bana, the film might be a great watch.

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animation – DreamWorks Animation/Oriental DreamWorks)

The third outing for Po (voiced by Jack Black again) sees him facing two threats: one supernatural and one closer to home. I enjoyed the first Kung Fu Panda more than the second one, but there still pretty fun movies to watch so lets hope that this is the same. The voice cast brings back Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim and Dustin Hoffman. The new voice cast includes Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons, and Bryan Cranston.

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What are you looking forward to?