Posted Feb 02 2016

13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - This Movie Bangs, Explodes, Shoots and Shouts. But Doesn't Rock

Dir: Michael Bay

Starring John Krasinski, John Badge Dale, Toby Stephens, Pablo Schreiber

Unlike some, we here at lastword haven’t completely written Michael Bay off. We still rate The Rock and the first magnificent hour of Armageddon, and we live in hope that the man will one day return to the promise of both of those. Sadly, 13 Hours – another one of the quieter more personal ones he makes between Transformers(!) – is not the case. If anything it’s simply more of the same, only worse in many respects.

The true story of a group of CIA soldiers who were attacked at an unofficial American compound in Libya in 2012, Bay’s film is so overwhelmed by his preponderance for style over substance that it manages to engage not a single jot – despite the subject matter. Bay’s editing style is now so unrelenting that his film displays absolutely no variation almost for its entire two and a half hour running time. Everything is pitched and paced the same, so any emotional impact is lost by what is just a constant dulling of the senses. At only one point in the whole movie does the director vary this pacing – when his troops are facing their possible end and ponder their fates. But that scene is chock full of such awful clichéd dialogue that pretty soon you’re just saying – “Come on Mike, pummel me again!”

Full of sound and fury, 13 Hours signifies nothing, from a man who is increasingly turning out nothing more than bludgeoning cinematic attacks that he passes off as entertainment. Next up he’s back to Transformers 5 – you know one of the ones he said he wasn’t going to make any more. (Twice.)

Doesn't actually last 13 hours. Feels like it does.


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