13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Billy Sakmann

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is certainly not a bad movie, but with many other quality movies in theaters, it’s definitely not the cream of the crop.
The film takes place in Benghazi, Libya, and is based on real events endured by the American diplomatic outpost. Throughout the film, we are given a taste of the extreme hardships six soldiers must face to survive and fight for their people.
As a Michael Bay film, there is no shortage of explosions and intense action sequences. Some of these action sequences are highlights of the film, mixing in great cinematics, high stakes keeping you on the edge of your seat, and investment in the well-being of the characters.
The main problem with 13 Hours is that this can’t be said about all or even most of the action sequences. The first hour contains a lot of manufactured suspense. A shaking camera, dramatic music, and mysterious figures paint a picture of a tense situation, but there is little to no payoff and danger never really feels imminent,
Another problem that arises is the investment in all six soldiers. Leads John Badge Date and John Krasinski are joined by Max Martini, Dominic Fumusa, Pablo Schreiber and David Denman. All six execute their roles quite well and make high-tension scenes very believable. But none of their characters are ever really fleshed out, even in the film’s slow beginning, which would’ve been a good time to differentiate the characters. We’re also introduced to some of the soldiers’ families, and while Krasinski’s character has some touching moments with his wife and kids, these characters also seem very generic, and it’s hard to be fully invested in them.
The pacing of the film varies, with a slow start and somewhat anti-climactic end. Some of the film’s best scenes are scattered in the middle, and, by the end, I was wondering when the two hours and 24 minutes would finally be over.
With all this being said, again,

John Krasinski stars in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (AP photo)
John Krasinski stars in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (AP photo)

isn’t a terrible film. If you like action, war movies, or Michael Bay films, this could definitely be an enjoyable experience. But if you’re looking for compelling characters and interesting dialogue to complement the action, well, you’ll be left searching for more.