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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is the story of six CIA hired guns and the battle of Benghazi. Director Michael Bay tells an apolitical story of the events leading up to and during the attack on the U.S. Embassy and secret C.I.A. base in Libya.

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Writer: Chuck Hogan based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge

In 2012, the United States had an embassy in Libya with an idealistic ambassador, who felt peace with the Libya was possible. Along with the embassy, is a secret CIA base collecting intelligence under the noses of the Libyan people.

Because the CIA base exists in a non-military capacity, the base the security of the base is accomplished by a contracted force of ex-military. The movie follows this security force comprised of Jack Silva (John Krasinski), Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave Benton (David Denman), John Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), and Mark Geist (Max Martini).

The first act of the movie shows a little about how the perception of the U.S. in the Middle East. People want peace, but at the same time don’t trust the Americans. Also, Libya is going through their own civil war after the capture and execution of Moammar Kadaffi. Knowing the difference between friend and foe is difficult and trusting your friend is just as daunting.

The start of the second act takes place on September 11. Both the embassy and base are on high alert and on lockdown in fear of a potential attack, which becomes a reality. As the sun sets suspicious activity around the embassy leads to an assault on the U.S. Embassy and the search for the Ambassador. As the attack progresses, the C.I.A. security wants to help but given strict orders to stay and protect the base and the sensitive intelligence collected.

Of course, the human spirit and U.S. patriotism motivate the security for to help and thus begins the real story of the movie.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a straightforward account of this battle. It stays for away from any of the political issues surrounding the U.S. State Department’s choices in staffing the embassy’s security staff and the reluctance to send in forces to help defend the ambassador and C.I.A. base.

What makes the movie interesting is the way it portrays the new kind of warfare we face in the Middle East. Every engagement is more of a diplomatic mission that a display of force by the U.S. Military.