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13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI | © 2016 Paramount Pictures

It’s one thing talking about it, but another having been there.

Three sides (not two) to a story, ladies and gentleman: yours, theirs, and what really happened! The events that took place in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12 have, are, and forever will remain a complex issue. Only those who experienced it know for sure what really happened. No news outlet, or speculative commentary with political agendas behind them will tarnish my troubled question mark. In the end, lives were lost and that’s enough to warrant shame among anyone whose sole purpose was to oversee and avoid any wrong-doing, especially in a fragile country that had just gone through a revolution.

Based on the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff, Michael Bay’s 13 HOURS cinematically relives the horrid night that still rides on a seesaw of assumptions and finger-pointing. As one would expect, such a touchy event riddled with bullets, explosions, and adrenaline-laced chases could only be brought to life with gritty gravitas courtesy of Bay. Although intensely engaging, its loose ends don’t bridge a gap between storyline and battle. At a run of two hours and twenty-three minutes, one would think considering a recent, historic event the narrative may have been just as palpable, but its result was a divide between uninteresting characters and dialog that leaps to moments of uncontrollable intensity.

There is a sliver-lining though… Empty plot aside, what I did admire and respect about 13 HOURS is Bay’s apolitical appeal, neutral take among all characters (sketchy and friendly), and admirable display of those who underwent hell in the name of their deed in order to protect-and-serve. 13 HOURS isn’t a great film based on artistic standards, but it’s a piece that’ll resonate as well as start conversations no matter what end of the spectrum one stands in.


Grade: C+ / Genre: Drama, Action, Adaptation, War / Rated: R / Run Time: 2:23

Starring: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Toby Stephens, David Costabile

Directed by: Michael Bay


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