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By: Joe Joboin
Michael Bay is a filmmaker that casual action fans love and critics love to hate. In his past films, he has ignored character development to objectify women, and ignored plot to film an endless number of explosions.
His directing style is fun and cool to look at, but the problem is that he thinks that all his films deserve to be two and half hours long, even though the action and violence quickly become mind-numbingly repetitive. He also has a terrible sense of humor that appeals exclusively to 12 year old boys, and ranges from being mildly annoying to incredibly offensive. Luckily, since 13 Hours is based on such a tragic and heroic true story, Bay actually decided to treat the material with some respect. Unfortunately, the film still ends up falling flat.
Watching this movie is like watching your friend play Call of Duty for over two hours. It’s no fun and you can probably find something better to do with your time.
The movie tells the story of a small group of soldiers trying to protect themselves during an attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The story takes places during some of Libya’s most dangerous years, following the ousting of Gaddafi during the Libyan Civil War that saw the rise of numerous militia groups. On Sept. 11, 2012, a group of Libyan militia attacked the American compound and attempted to murder an American ambassador. Six American soldiers disobeyed orders and attempted a rescue mission, but got caught up in a brutal struggle for survival. This is serious and mature subject matter, which has not only attracted criticism from the CIA, but requires a great deal of respect to the people who died during this tragic event.
The film’s biggest strength lies in its technical aspects. The cinematography was well done, and the sound and visuals of the action scenes were surprisingly realistic and impactful. Some of the effects were obviously fake, like the explosions that tend to resemble fireworks, and the prosthetics of people’s wounded limbs. Even so, the experience of watching the fights had a very intense and real element to it.
However, 13 Hours had so many needless fights that it became impossible for me to actually enjoy it. Firstly, the character development was almost non-existent, and when it was present, it was very cliché and impossible to take seriously. Secondly, the action at certain times was impossible to follow, and there were long periods where all you could see were random soldiers shooting at people, and random people getting shot. There weren’t many opportunities for the viewer to be emotionally invested in the events. Just like Bay’s other films, the action scenes became uninteresting and boring and the dialogue failed to contribute substantially to the movie’s narrative.
Overall, watching this movie is like watching your friend play Call of Duty for over two hours. It’s no fun and you can probably find something better to do with your time.