The attack on the US Consulate in this Libyan city that left four Americans dead, including an Ambassador, in 2012 was one of the legacies that Hillary Clinton has to fight in her run for US presidency.
So she should be thankful that Michael Bay helms this film, which is adapted from a book based on the accounts of private contractors hired by the CIA for its protection in the civil war-torn country.
The director who gave us Transformers does hint that the good men and women doing the dirty work of clean-up after a half-baked revolution has swept a country didn’t get much help from the US State Department in their time of need. However, most of his energy, not surprisingly, is focused on the fightback by those good men, and one incompetent woman.
Lots of vehicles blow up, many bullets are fired, an SUV proves to be a miracle on wheels, and the Libyans come out as people with flexible fingers on trigger and as flexible loyalties in their hearts. While presumably it was hard to tell friends from foes through those 13 hours starting from the night of September 11, 2012, the Americans find hardly anyone in their corner.
Lip-service is paid to exploring why the Americans are in another war that’s not theirs to fight, or that the contractors — either former SEALS or Marines — have even less of a reason to be there. More care is paid towards establishing that the CIA chief treats men guarding him like dirt because that’s how bureaucrats are towards hired hands.
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However, as far as bucks-for-bangs goes, 13 Hours doesn’t disappoint. The sense of siege, at the consulate first and the CIA secret annex later, never lifts as men and boys carrying assault rifles keep pouring out and crawling towards the buildings. The soldiers fighting it — Krasinski, Dale, Schreiber all pretty good — are men with tired eyes and little gung-ho rhetoric.
Earlier in the film, the CIA chief says, “There is no threat to us here. We won the revolution for these guys.” If he isn’t the only one left shaking his head at the end of 13 Hours, Bay can consider it a job well done.