13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGAZI

3 stars

A veritable orgy of machismo and militaristic jingoism that is nevertheless interesting for its subtext, this based-on-real-events sausage fest comes from director Michael Bay. I admittedly tend to avoid Bay’s films, but the prospect of an hour and a half staring at a buffed out, bearded John Krasinski (Jim from the US version of the TV show The Office) was too good to resist. The film immerses you in the perspective of six ex-military security contractors hired to protect a secret CIA base in the Libyan city of Bengazi. If you just thought: “SIX?” then you can anticipate the tension prevalent throughout the movie, that of the inadequate resources available to this outpost, especially as the US Ambassador moves his base of operations to the city from the capital Tripoli. The political issues still dogging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about this whole affair are hardly examined; instead the movie invites you to consider the position of these Iraq veterans who can’t seem to turn down the excitement and/or salary of these jobs despite all having young families at home in the U.S.

Krasinski turns out to be a rather bland lead for the movie, especially in contrast to the charismatic presence of the team captain played by the relatively unknown actor James Badge Dale. Also notable is Pablo Schrieber, known for his role as Pornstache from the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black; thankfully here he sports a more flattering full beard. Whatever sins can be laid at Michael Bay’s feet, I will be forever grateful to him for the scene featuring Dale, a tractor tire, and some aggressively hemmed workout shorts.

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