Hey everyone, and welcome to the first edition of Jason’s DVD Deep Dive! What we are doing here is going through my incredibly massive blu-ray and dvd collection and simply reviewing the films. One by one in alphabetical order, starting with the blu-rays.
The first movie we will be talking about is the 2016 war/action/drama called 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi directed by none other than Michael Bay. It stars John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) and James Badge Dale.
The Plot: As most of you probably already know…this movie is based on the true story on the 2012 attacks on the Diplomatic Compound that held Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher) and “The Annex”, a CIA outpost that held members of the CIA as well as the ones protecting the facility, private military specialists from the Global Response Staff (GRS). Members of the GRS include Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale), the leader of the group, Jack Silva (John Krasinski), Mark “Oz” Geist (Max Martini), John “Tig” Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa), Kris “Tonto” Paranto( Pablo Scrieber) and Dave “Boon” Benton (David Denman).
The GRS is there as protection for the CIA agents working undercover in Benghazi. After a few months, Ambassador Stevens shows up to try to keep up with the diplomatic process amidst the chaos and unease. Despite all of this and being told he should leave, he decides to stay at the Diplomatic Compound with only the protection of Diplomatic Security (DS) agents Scott Wickland (David Giuntoli) and David Ubben (Demetrius Grosse), as well as the local February 17th Martyrs Brigade a militia as hired guards called 17-Feb.
In the early evening on the first anniversary of September 11th in 2012, the compound was attacked by Ansar al-Sharia, a militant group. The 17-Feb guards surrender their posts and DS agents do their best against the militia, but are not able to fend them off successfully. Inside, Scott takes Ambassador Stevens and IT specialist Sean Smith (Christopher Dingli) to the safe room. The militia is unable to penetrate the room, so they start a fire to smoke them out. Wickland makes it out, but without Stevens and Smith. The GRS unit make their way over to the compound fighting through the streets. Everyone heads back to the Annex…but unfortunately the DS team go the wrong way and are followed giving up the location to militant group.
Back at the Annex, the GRS know an attack is imminent. The CIA is making desperate calls and pleas for help and the only respond is from fellow GRS agent Glen “Bub” Doherty (Toby Stephens) who is stationed at nearby Tripoli, as he assembles a small team to help out In Benghazi.
However, before they arrive, the team is able to thwart multiple attacks off taking on multiple waves of attacks from the militant group. After the Tripoli support arrives…the militant group attacks with mortars. The first mortar injures DS agent DS agent Ubben and GSR member Oz., with Oz severely damaging one of his arms. Tone goes to assist Oz and in that time a second mortar hits and kills Tone. A third mortar hits right in front of Bub and he is killed.
With the Annex in shambles after the mortar attacks, they fear another strike coming as multiple vehicles are seen on the way. Luckily for everyone, it’s the Libya Shield Force, escorting the GRS force. The Annex is evacuated everyone goes to the airport to fly home. Right before the credits begin, we find out what came of the team and they have all received medals for their work at the Annex.
The good: John Krasinski. This is the first film I saw from him post-Office…and boy did he deliver! Pretty sure him being in this film was the main reason I wanted to see it. Would also like to mention Dominic Fumusa, who played Tig. Largely unfamiliar with his work but he was very enjoyable. Same with Demetrius Grosse…unfamiliar with his work but ALSO very enjoyable. David Giuntoli from Grimm and a Million Little Things was great, very underrated performance from him. But, it was Pablo Schrieber that stole the show. If you don’t know who he is, go watch him as Pornstache on Orange is the New Black. He’s very funny and believable in this film.
The bad: I’m not gonna say the rest of the cast was “BAD”…but I don’t think they really stuck out. Very non-descript army-marine type guys. Not that that is particularly bad…there was just nothing that really stood out about them.
Best performance of the film: Hands down, Pablo Schrieber.
The Review: I’m usually not very interested in war films…but this was shot surprisingly well considering its Michael Bay. It had good action sequences and it get VERY real. If I have any major criticisms of the film, I felt it was kinda like watching Call of Duty, the movie…and it kinda romanticized warfare. Besides that…it’s extremely solid.
The Overall Score: 7/10