Movie Review- Jackie K Cooper
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Paramount Pictures)
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi makes an impression on its audience with as much about what it includes as to what it excludes. The harrowing scenes of the battles to save U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and the CIA compound are what dominate the film but lurking always in the background is the failure to have a rescue plan in place. There are constant pleas for aid and assistance but the reasons they fall on deaf ears is not clearly explained.
The focus of the film is on six members of an elite security team assigned to Benghazi, Libya. They do work for the CIA but are independent contractors. There is a constant tug of war as to whether or not they have to follow CIA rules and this comes forcibly into play when the offices of the American Ambassador are attacked. The six man team, led by Rone Woods (James Badge Dale) wants to rush to the rescue but is ordered to "stand down" by the CIA chief (David Costabile).
The danger to the Ambassador eventually gets so critical that the team defies the CIA and goes to rescue him and his staff. Meanwhile calls are being made for air support and rescue. Before any help can arrive the CUA compound comes under attack so the fighting is renewed.
The story is an inspiring one in that it features men who are willing to place their lives on the line to save their fellow man. It is all done with a patriotic flair that unifies the audience and makes the viewing a somber but exhilarating experience. You get flashbacks to the heroics of The Alamo. American Sniper and every John Wayne movie ever made.
The casting of John Krasinski is a smart one. He plays Jack Silva, a member of the security team and a solid family man who is constantly balancing his life between the duties of his job and the love he feels for his family. Krasinski exudes the American ideal. Within a very short time he has established his character to be heroic, strong, moral and likable. These traits are basically what Krasinski projects just by showing up.
The movie does have weaknesses. There are several plot points that are fuzzy and confusing. They are never made completely clear. You just have to go with what you do understand and let the rest just exist. Also most of the six members of the security team have beards and are interchangeable in the story. Aside from Krasinski and Dale you are prone to misidentify and confuse the others.
The movie is rated R for violence and profanity.
There hasn't been a rah-rah movie since American Sniper, and it certainly paid off for that film. 13 Hours should engender the same kind of attention and success. The politics are played down in the movie, but it should still find an audience that will put into it whatever they want to see and feel.
I scored 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi a timely 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper