Intense; Taut; Gripping; Edge of the Seat Thriller. Michael Bay’s adaptation of Mitchell Zuckoff”s 2014 book “13 Hours” must surely rank as one of his best ever offerings till date. While the plot is unerring, its execution is near flawless. Although a wee bit lengthy at 144 minutes of running time, 13 Hours leaves you reeling and enervated by the time the credits roll out.
The year is 2012. The much despised despot Muammar Gaddafi has been brutally deposed by his own countrymen. However, Libya is in a state of dangerous flux. Insurgents and separatists clash openly on the streets causing wanton mayhem not to mention about the destruction of people and property. Amidst this raging inferno of civil unrest, all the foreign embassies shut shop and flee to safety. Only the United States mans a Special Mission in the dangerous city of Benghazi, along with a ‘supposedly’ secret CIA outpost, not so imaginatively termed the “Annex”. The Annex is guarded by a team of Private Military Contractors.
In an act of foolish optimism and misplaced confidence, the US Ambassador to Libya, J.Christopher Stevens decides to arrive in Benghazi to further the fabric of diplomacy between the two nations. The Ambassador makes the Special Mission (Embassy) his temporary residence paying little heed to the fact that the security at the Mission is to say the least, sparse. All hell breaks loose when the Embassy comes under brutal siege, courtesy a Group of rampaging Libyan fundamentalists. The CIA Annex, alerted to this catastrophe makes desperate calls to various US military bases and air support pleading for help. As all their impassioned pleas go in vain, a meagre and motley band of six Soldiers are forced to hold at bay, armed militants teeming around their place of refuge like savage predators.
The courageous deeds of the six brave hearts who went many a mile beyond their call of duty forms the spine and substance of the movie. James Badge Dale as Tyrone “Rone” Woods puts in a compellingly power packed performance stealing both the show as well as the adulation of the audience. John Krasinsly as Jack Silva, a former Navy SEAL plays able second fiddle to Dale. David Constabile as “The Chief”, the Benghazi Chief of Base, CIA both exasperates as well as enthuses, in equal and alternative measure.
The most engrossing part of the movie is the depiction of the pitched battles at ground level pitting six no hopers against a massive aggregation of hate filled barbarians. The action sequences are deeply penetrating and endearingly meaningful. Although the historical accuracy of the facts as portrayed in the movie has been clouded by some controversy, there is no denying the fact that the Director who enthralled us all with fare such as “Armageddon”; and “The Transformers” series is back at doing what he does best – entertain. But this time the entertainment does not involve any juvenile trying to ram a cube into a metallic chest of a gigantic monster. This time the entertainment is engaging, inspiring and for real.
Watch out for the last 30 minutes of the movie and if you can refrain from gripping the handle of your seats until your knuckles turn white and demolish a third of your fingers along with the nails, you would have accomplished a commendable feat of restraint!
As the real names of the six brave hearts roll out at the end of the movie, you are left with nothing but a feeling of respect for the selfless soldiers who did not even bat an eyelid before putting their own lives on the line to keep their brethren out of the vicious jaws of death.
13 Hours – Michael Bay’s marvelous tribute to the magnificent men of Benghazi!