Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Movie Review: 13 Hours

Michael Bay's political action movie had some decent acting and a fast-paced plot. It was one of Bay's more thought-provoking and intense action thrillers and a welcome relief from wherever the Transformers series is going. I have enjoyed Michael Bay's films before for their popcorn fun, yet this one take a much more serious tone that handles the subject matter with a modicum of solemnity.

There is a budding tradition of war movies at the beginning of the year from Lone Survivor to American Sniper and now 13 Hours. This movie is at the bottom of the three but still intense enough for fans of the genre. I was drawn right in and even though I saw the late night viewing was able to stay engaged throughout, which is really all I can ask for of a January release.

The acting was superb for the most part. As I was not an avid viewer of The Office American adaptation, John Krasinski was a new face, especially in an action movie. Krasinski's acting was probably the weakest of the bunch but still not bad. His character Jack Silva takes center stage and introduces us to the city of Benghazi, and the viewer follows him through the attack. I think Krasinski was just adjusting to his new role as action star and has a bright future in the genre if he chooses to continue.

The supporting cast was really amazing. It's nice to see James Badge Dale getting more lead roles as he is usually relegated to villain sidekick or momentary in the film gangster. His character had some emotional depth and I know it can't be easy to pull of those action scenes. Pablo Schreiber is also an upcoming actor who has been awesome in almost every role I've seen him in from two HBO series and a villainous turn on a popular Netflix series. David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, and Max Martini played their roles well and helped this film tremendously.

The political nature of the topic wasn't overly drawn upon in the narrative. There were only a few mentions of nameless political leaders not sending help to the stranded soldiers. David Costabile plays CIA's Bob and represents the uninformed bureaucrat who prevents the super smart soldiers from doing their job, but of course he gets told what to do by the end after the fiasco has played out.

I enjoy movies that recognize our service men and women and always appreciate ones that do so respectfully. This movie had to tread complicated ground as these soldiers were hired by the CIA and the story was "untold' or at least not the one peddled by the media for controversy. This movie didn't concern itself with why these soldiers were fighting or who they were fighting as most of the militants were faceless Libyans though a few get multiple shots focused on them where they are always cast as menacing. I would be curious to see the other side of this story but Hollywood has a long way to go in that department.

Overall, the action was fun, the acting decent, and the plot fast and not too political. There was several moment of intense violence and Bay knows how to draw out the tension. This movie won't be swaying any voters but it entertained me for a bit over two hours. Seven out of ten stars!

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