Friday, January 15, 2016

Benghazi Drama '13 Hours' Is Right On Time

By Darlene Donloe

Michael Bay’s 13 Hours:  The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, opening in theaters nationwide today, is one of those films that stays with you long after you’ve left the theater.

It’s emotional, gut-wrenching, engaging, terrifying and gripping. The fact that it’s also a true story makes it all the more intense.

And since Michael Bay is involved – you know he’s going to bring the noise!!!

The story of what actually happened in Benghazi stopped America in its tracks. How could something like this happen? Why did it happen? What went wrong?

The story and moment-by-moment intensity is so in-your-face – it’s palpable. Michael Bay’s direction is so on point, it feels like you’re right there.

Everyone knows the story. But no one knew what happened from an insider’s point of view.

13 Hours, based on Mitchell Zuckoff and members of the Annex Security Team’s nonfiction book 13 Hours, chronicles the true story of six elite ex-military operators assigned to protect the CIA, who fought back against overwhelming odds when terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012. 

Yes, September 11!!!!

John Krasinski is Jack Silva in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

The tagline for the film reads: When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right.

If the movie is an accurate description and depiction, that tagline says it all.

Here is a quick synopsis.

On the eve of September 11, 2012, the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, a group of Islamist militants stormed the American diplomatic compound and a nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.  The ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, who had just arrived in May 2012, died of smoke inhalation. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to die in office since the 1988 airplane crash in Pakistan that killed Arnold Lewis Raphel. Stevens was the eighth U.S. Ambassador to be killed in the line of duty.

A Special Operations team made up of former U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA Operatives are sent in to defend the remaining Americans who are still alive.

What happens next is nothing short of miraculous and heroic.

As a number of militants attack the American compound, a handful of Americans fight back – holding them off until reinforcements arrive.

Some are maimed. Some are killed. And even when it looks like all hope is lost, the remaining soldiers continue to fight.  The carnage of war is front and center. Some of the turmoil is too graphic to comment.

Bay (Transformers) has created a masterful cinematic chaos.  He puts you right in the thick of the ambush.

To his credit, he has also assembled one helluva cast for this drama, all turn in stirring and convincing performances.

Standouts include John Krasinski whose character, Jack Silva, has put his family life on hold to go to work in Benghazi.  A patriot, he wears his loyalty, brotherhood and camaraderie on his sleeve as does Tyrone ‘Rone Woods, played by James Badge Dale.  Both play former Navy SEALS who are paid $150K a year by the CIA's Global Response Staff to protect U.S. intelligence operatives and diplomats in an unsecured Benghazi compound.

The rest of the cast is equally convincing and committed.

A saving grace for Hillary Clinton – the movie is coming out now instead of closer to November. By then, it may be forgotten. Well, maybe not. Donald Trump is sure to bring up the debacle of Benghazi under Clinton’s watch as Secretary of State. Still, her name is never mentioned in the film.

This is a compelling movie. Not sure how accurate it is. I’m sure some creative license was taken.

All that being said, watching 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi makes you proud to be an American!!!!

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, directed by Michael Bay, stars James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, Dominic Fumusa, Matt Letscher , David Denman, David Costabile, David Giuntoli, Demetrius Gross and Alexia Barlier.

Running time: 2 hrs, 17 min.  Rated R: for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images, and language.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi gets an E (excellent).

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