“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

By Arthur Medrano |Staff Writer|

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is a political thriller meant to captivate the audience with the bombardment and relentless attacks on a U.S. compound in Libya after the attack on Sept. 11, 2012 that led to the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and others.

Based off the book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” brings the “based on a true story” adaptations to the next level with the explosive fireworks director Michael Bay is known for.

Ever since its release on Jan. 16, it has received mixed reviews due to its lengthy screen time (2 hours, 24 minutes), with little background on the characters who were just stamped onto the screen like any other rugged, thrill seeker itching to kill.

It covers the story of six men who were hired as contractors by the C.I.A. defending the U.S. compound that was under siege by Islamic militants.

The dialogue in the film surrounds five contracted men who survived the Battle of Benghazi.

The threat is depicted as locals who cannot be trusted because the militia had no uniforms and blended in too well with the Libyan locals. 

Mayhem and destruction describe the raw force artillery had when used in combat.

Every new scene leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat, waiting for a gunfight or a blast that shakes the theater, as if you were just miles away from the action.

Bay was able to place the audience in a firsthand account with the experiences and surreal exposure the men deployed face when threat is right around the corner.

The film excites you with loud thunderous sounds of mortars landing on buildings and rocket explosions that set the whole scenery ablaze.

“I wish they could have shown the true grit all men face when they are out of resources. We need less special effect explosions like in ‘Transformers,’” said student Julian Cedillo.

“People do love war movies, and although this may not have been a real war, the U.S. and allies are not always up to par on their standards with protection of every life at risk,” continued Cedillo.

I fully agree with the prior statement, but I do also want to give credit towards the staging of the movie, which was in an arid desert region similar to the environment in Benghazi.

You can feel the fatigue and emotions running through the minds of these men as they begin to question the patriotism that lies on in the hands of one quick phone call or plea for help.

Combatant and non-combatants who have served this country are well addressed and given perspective of those whose lives were close to the cord of death, revealing the courage all men and women face when death seems imminent.

As the movie makes itself focused on a political faction, the real questions lie within the lack of support these men had while in Libya and the reaction time our government had during the attack.

Director Bay paid his respects to these brave men and gripped a compelling fog of war they faced while defending the ambassadors’ motive in preventing weapons traveling freely into enemy hands.

Survivors earned having their story told, ensuring the legacy of the lives lost the night of the attack.

The conclusion of the film was a tear jerker that any movie goer will enjoy, especially for those who have family and friends serving this country. I give this movie four out of five paws up!

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