Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this retelling of the notorious attack on an American compound in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012. As always, Bay stages the action on a big scale in a way that looks amazing, but he neglects both the story and the characters. As a result, the film feels epic and beefy, but is impossible to engage with.
It opens as a team of hired soldiers assembles at a secret CIA base in Benghazi. Jack (John Krasinski) is the newest arrival, joining his old pal Rone (James Badge Dale) and four more tough guys (Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini). Meanwhile just up the road, the American Ambassador (Matt Letscher) is staying in a rather unsecure compound with not quite enough security, despite stern warnings from Washington that trouble is brewing. Sure enough, as night falls a local jihadist militia launches a violent, fiery assault. The CIA base chief (David Costabile) tells his men not to join the fight, but of course they can't resist the chance to charge in and save the day.
Over a long and bludgeoning two and a half hours, Bay carefully recreates this long, vicious night of fighting, as the situation continually twists out of control. The best thing about the film is the way it depicts how difficult it was to know which locals were on which side, but even this is simplified in Chuck Hogan's script. Everyone on-screen is interchangeable as either a bewildered nerd or a fierce warrior, and the only one in between is by far the film's strongest character: Peyman Moaadi's translator, who gets pushed right into the middle of the nightmare. In the few quiet moments, there are clumsy attempts to give these manly men some back-story, but it's the same for everyone: former black ops soldier with a wife and kids back home.
Continue reading: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi Review
Being a security contractor stationed in Benghazi is a job that most people would not be equipped to do; it takes a special type of person, not to mention the training. It's September 2012 and the security agencies around the world are still on high alert and recovering from the terror attacks in London the year prior.
When a group of Islamist radicals attack two American bases in Benghazi, Libya the American citizens in the compounds are placed in grave danger and it's left to a small group of Ex-Navy SEALS and Special Forces operatives to go help protect them. Placing their lives in danger, they take it upon themselves to protect the Ambassador to the United States.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is based on Mitchell Zuckoff's novel 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi and was directed by Michael Bay.
Benghazi, Libya has become out-of-control, with Islamic extremists terrorising the state with multiple bomb attacks. As such, the CIA operatives that have been stationed there to covertly observe the terrorism are in more danger than ever before, and so an elite team of former military weapons and manouvre experts are brought on for ultimate security. Jack Da Silva is the team's newest recruit, having previously trained SEALs at the Coronado Navy base. Led by the sharp and formidable Rone, the six-man group face their first major attack when Islamic radicalists storm the US embassy. With the death of an American Ambassador occurring not long after, it's clear that these men have something close to a suicide mission to undertake. But they're willing to risk everything to save the rest of their country's civilians.
Richie Furst is a Princeton student with a unique gift for mathematics. He uses his talent to play the odds on online poker sites but what's starts out as gambling for fun, turns into much more as he struggles to pay his school fees. He has one more chance to bring up his bank balance but finds himself busted out of a game (and the last of his money) despite his calculations telling him he should win. Determined to discover the meaning behind what he thinks is a scam, he visits the website's owner Ivan Block who offers him a job with a guaranteed 7-figure salary in just a few months. Unfortunately, he finds himself conned worse than he realised when he is kidnapped by an FBI agent for his apparent 'crimes' and uncovers the corrupt and often cruel operations behind Ivan and his company. Now his tuition fees are the least of his worries as he is now gambling for his life.
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