13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi
DO not be fooled: 13 Hours is not a prequel to 127 Hours, that 2010 movie where James Franco gets his hand caught under a rock. Both films, however, feature people caught in dangerous, impossible situations: in 13 Hours’ case, six American peacekeepers tasked to defend a US security compound in Benghazi, Libya, following waves of insurgent attacks on Sept 11, 2012.
Based on a true story, it is directed by Michael Bay. While that’s usually enough to raise alarm bells, rest assured that the movie is mercifully not just two hours of explosions. Bay actually shows a great amount of sensitivity in this movie, balancing the camaraderie of the security teams tasked with an impossible mission, with the tensions of life in post- Gaddafi Libya.
The cast, which includes John Krasinski, James Badge Dale and Max Martini, does a good job, and the action scenes are decent. The movie’s main flaw, however, is that at 144 minutes, it is just too darn long. Its endless gunfights and “anticipating the enemy” scenes started to feel repetitious towards the film’s midway point, and certain scenes dragged so much I started to fear 13 Hours would actually be 13 hours long.
The film also offers little exploration of the political or cross- cultural background of the Benghazi conflict, so if viewers are hoping to gain any insight on this historical incident, they should look elsewhere. With its unending combat scenes, 13 Hours sometimes feels more like an over- long video game cutscene.