Review: 13 Hours

Something I didn’t remember until after the credits was that this movie was directed by Michael Bay. Typically, Bay is known for his overuse of explosions and juvenile humor, and while there is both of those things in the movie, compared to all of his Transformers and Ninja Turtles movies, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” really tones it down.

Unlike The Forest, which I saw yesterday, the theatre was pretty close to full. I was the youngest person in the auditorium by about 20 years. The seats were full of older patriots that wanted to see a patriotic movie, and patriotic it was.

This movie not only tries to follow what really happened in Benghazi (how much liberty Bay took on the specifics of the story, I’m not sure), but it also really struck me as a love letter to the military. I have a feeling that people who really love the military will really like this movie; the audience around me gave it a round of applause as I was leaving the auditorium.

 

This movie is just alright though, in regards to cinematic elements. During the first half, I was pretty positive I wasn’t going to like it, mainly because the first half of the movie is pretty bland and unspecial. It didn’t necessarily do a lot wrong, but it also really doesn’t attempt to do anything great. I almost wish they took the first part of the movie out or did something better with it. Though I tried really hard, I just couldn’t care very much about any of the characters on screen.

My inability to care could be blamed on some of the mistakes they made (a couple of attempts at humor that fell flat; elements of the story seemed hard to follow; there’s some shaky cam; and some cheap, cliched “these-guys-have-families” scenes), but I feel like the biggest thing that holds the first half of this movie back is the fact that, if you follow politics (which I certainly do), you already know what happens during Benghazi. It just seemed unnecessary to make a boring movie about stuff that we already know was going to happen anyway.

 

Fortunately, this movie gets a lot better during the second half. There’s a lot more tension, focus, and character development once they move past the initial Benghazi assault. This part of the story isn’t really told in the news so you don’t know who makes it and who doesn’t. It felt a lot more engaging too, and they actually got me to care about the people who this story is really about.

This movie has a slightly conservative undertone; they don’t mention them by name, but some of the dialogue pieces take shots at how Obama and especially Secretary of State Clinton handled Benghazi. If you don’t follow politics whatsoever, you’ll probably miss them, but I love following politics, so to me the shots were pretty clear as day.

There’s also a lot of cursing in this movie, if that bothers you.

 

All in all, this is a pretty by-the-books military movie that is pretty complimentary to our armed forces. If you’re a red-blooded patriot or at least a fan of the military, I would highly recommend this movie.  As a person who considers himself both, I did enjoy this movie, but as a movie-goer, I’m afraid I’m going to forget 13 Hours after a couple of months.

If it wasn’t for the second half of this movie, I would’ve given it a lower rating, but I liked the second half of the movie enough to bump it up. The last movie that I saw that received a round of applause during the credits was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ironically, I believe 13 Hours deserves the same grade I gave TFA, and I’m giving this movie a 6 out of 10.

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