Director Michael Bay is known as a filmmaker who cares about filling the screen with enough explosions and special effects to rival anyone else, and the results have always been mind-numbing.
However, for his latest film, “13 Hours,” he shows some restraint, but still can’t help himself. It’s almost a successful effort. Almost.
The movie tells the story of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, and how six CIA operatives defended the diplomatic compound when it was attacked by radical Islamic militants. James Badge Dale and John Krasinski star as the two main characters leading the charge.
Together, six men, including Navy SEALs, a Marine and an Army Special Forces soldier, band together to protect the American ambassador, in addition to the U.S. embassy in Libya. It’s another example of how desperate circumstances often bring out the most heroic of people.
I give the movie credit for not blasting the screen with explosions right from the get-go. At about the 45-minute mark, the action starts, and that might be considered unusual for someone with Bay’s reputation. We do get a number of character-driven scenes at the beginning to establish who these guys are and what their responsibilities do to their families.
As I’ve mentioned, once the action starts, Bay does his usual unrelenting assault. Bay reminds me of a cinematic chocoholic: He doesn’t know when to quit, and it sometimes swamps the story of any kind of narrative coherence.
This film is well-intentioned and has some effective individual scenes. “13 Hours” certainly doesn’t disrespect the people and the events it is portraying on screen, but in the end, it’s still a Michael Bay film. No more, no less.
(Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images and language.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.