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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

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Nominated for Best Sound Mixing at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

My instincts were strong that I shouldn’t even bother with this one. You know, I really don’t mind being wrong every now and then. But I wasn’t wrong here. Overlong, incoherent, and often amateurish in its approach, Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” has almost nothing to recommend as far as understanding this complex and controversial event. Michael Bay. That’s your first clue that this is terrible filmmaking. Can the creator behind the lucrative, testosterone fueled “Transformers” franchise, make this “based on true story” work? The answer is no. If you enter this knowing very little about the 2012 Benghazi, Libya tragedy, you’ll exit with many more questions than answers. Those who are familiar with the details, will be almost as confused. So, I certainly have to blame first-time feature film screenwriter, Chuck Hogan, for a good deal of that. Want a plot synopsis and description? Google it. I don’t have the patience to work through this morass.

Positives? Yes…there are a few. Dion Beebe is an Oscar-winning cinematographer, and he captures the right look for this chaotic happenstance. Performers like James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini, and Dominic Fumusa, certainly attempt to make this material sing. Unfortunately, renowned editor Pietro Scalia couldn’t transform this jumble of scenes into anything worth your time. “War is hell” simply isn’t enough to carry this bloated 144 minutes, although someone is bound to tell me that that’s the point. There’s always one. The movie is based on the book “13 Hours” by Mitchell Zuckoff, but the film has been challenged for its historical accuracy. The book has to be better, right? And have I mentioned that this motion picture was directed by Michael Bay? It’s his lowest grosser ever.

Grade:  C-

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One comment on “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

  1. Great review and well written! Mind dropping a follow to http://www.tvandcity.com ? We’re a new site trying to gain some traction.

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