| 03.18.2018

Gritty human heroes — Michael Bay’s ’13 Hours’ is a compelling drama


Bradley Burgess | Rawr

Michael Bay’s action packed filmography has received a wide range of reactions. While most agree that “The Rock” and the first “Transformers” were his finest hours, there are many who believe, based on his body of work, that Bay is one to put spectacle over story.

Enter “13 Hours,” a true-story-based, character-driven thriller that seems to be Bay’s answer to those criticisms, as he not only is telling an interesting story, but he makes us care about those involved.

In 2012, the threat level in Benghazi, Libya, was deemed “critical.” After a revolution and the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s reign, Libyan citizens were hoarding weapons from Gaddafi’s chambers. A CIA covert team was dispatched to a secret outpost in Benghazi to keep things under control. Among them are Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale) and Jack Silva (John Krasinski), a new addition to the team.

On September 11, 2012, Libyan attackers overran the compound of American ambassador Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher). Defying the orders of their superiors, Rone, Jack and the rest of the team venture into the chaos on a rescue mission, which ultimately turns rawr6into a fight to survive.

Many people thought that telling a human-driven story was outside of Bay’s ability, but the fact that he pulls it off here should speak volumes about his skill. There are several dramatic moments in the film and none of them come off as forced or contrived, but rather genuine. A particular moment involving a call between Jack and his wife is especially effective and moving.

Even through the intense action and shootouts, which firmly remind you that you’re watching a Michael Bay movie, there is still a human element throughout. The team of soldiers are given moments in between and even during the set pieces to shine through. Krasinski is truly impressive as Jack, as he not only looks built for battle, but delivers some true character moments that show the struggle he is going through, rather then discuss it to death.

Easily Bay’s grittiest and most mature film to date, “13 Hours” is a raw and powerful survival story that should affect everyone who sees it, Bay fan or not. It’s still a Michael Bay movie, but this time, it’s a human story that raises good questions with the viewer long after it’s over.

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