Review: 13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

In the new feature film by director Michael Bay, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, do not expect to see politicians and others arguing over the topic of Benghazi as it has been for the last three plus years. For people who do not pay attention to the news or politics, they may not know what Benghazi is, unfortunately. I use the word “unfortunately,” because the events that occurred there resulted in a loss of four American lives. The attack on the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya started on September 11th, 2012, continuing for thirteen hours and the deceased include Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, with many others injured in the attack.

Although the film is a dramatization of events, screenwriter Chuck Hogan adapted the book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, written by Mitchell Zuckoff with the actual security contractors who were there, working for the CIA in Benghazi. Viewers will have an opportunity to get the story from those who lived it, the surviving contractors. Michael Bay certainly has what it takes to give viewers the visuals and sounds from guns and grenade launchers, so fans of action and the related drama will enjoy the film without all the politics, but it should make viewers more aware about some of our own government agencies. While I do like the film in general, I most certainly like Zuckoff’s book much more and suggest it as a good read to understand more about the survivors.

Jack Silva (John Krasinski), a former Navy SEAL flies to Benghazi to join the other Global Response Staff (GRS) team members there, including Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris “Tanto” Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Mark “Oz” Geist (Max Martini) and John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), all former military veterans now special operations veterans providing security for CIA staff. In 13 Hours, we do see a few scenes where the CIA staff is having a nice meal on the job with friendly Libyan folks, but not for long before the “special guest” by their side see the worse coming and remove them from danger. The highly trained men do what they do best, but the CIA chief, Bob (David Costabile), is one character we immediately learn is arrogant and certainly draws the line to separate the “animals” (as he calls them at one point in the film) from his staff. This made me boil inside. It is not until the compound comes under fire from the militants and the CIA has no immediate response from the U. S. to send boats, planes or anyone to come rescue them that they begin to slowly – very slowly – realize the contractors with military skills are their best hope for any chance of getting out alive.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is rated R and has a running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes.

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