13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

A new review from The Movie Snob.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi  (B).  Remember American Sniper?  If you enjoyed that movie—and I mean the battle scenes, not the back-at-home scenes—then you will like 13 Hours.  This is the story of the September 11, 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.  How accurate it is, I must leave to others, but as a movie-going experience, I enjoyed it.  We experience the events mainly from the perspective of six CIA contractors—former Navy SEALS and the like who live at a secret CIA base not too far from the diplomatic compound.  Thanks to their training and remarkable musculature, they are, of course, basically an army unto themselves, and they do almost all of the fighting in the movie.  Unfortunately, they aren’t fleshed out too well as characters, and I had a hard time telling some of them apart.  (It helped that two of them, John Krasinski and David Denman, used to be on The Office, where they played romantic rivals for the affections of receptionist Pam Beasley.)  Of course, the main thrust of the movie is that the diplomatic compound was badly under-secured and that the State Department—or somebody—was at least criminally negligent for not sending whatever help was available.  I didn’t perceive the movie as too much of an attack on the present administration or the then-secretary of state, but it definitely puts the lie to the administration’s and press’s initial reports that the attack was a local protest that got out of hand instead of a planned and premeditated assault.  Anyway, I thought the battle scenes were engrossing and conveyed well the “fog of war” in a strange land where the enemies and friendlies were virtually indistinguishable.  On the down side, there is a decent amount of cheesy dialogue to be endured.  Still, it’s definitely one of the better efforts from director Michael Bay (The Island, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).