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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Thriller . Drama . Action

An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

Actors: Pablo Schreiber , John Krasinski , David Denman , Toby Stephens , Max Martini , James Badge Dale , David Costabile , Elektra Anastasi , Alexia Barlier , Liisa Evastina
Directors: Michael Bay
Country: USA
Release: 2016-01-15
More Info:
  • Joe Dziemianowicz

    Sure, Bay indulges some signature cinematic fetishes. But he shows restraint with the slowed-down, sexed-up shots. War is gritty here, not glamorous. Result: characters, stakes and emotions feel authentic — all the more so thanks to terrific actors including James Badge Dale and Pablo Schreiber as actual ex-military men and family men who battled terrorists.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The movie is imperfect and overlong but it’s never boring.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    This is no “Zero Dark Thirty” or “The Hurt Locker.” Lacking in nuance and occasionally plagued by corny dialogue, “13 Hours” is nonetheless a well-photographed, visceral action film, and a sincere and fitting tribute to those secret soldiers.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Still, if 13 Hours lacks the gravitas of “American Sniper,” it’s powerful stuff. Bay’s goal is to put you right in these men’s boots, to feel the heat, the fear, the fatigue, the weight of the weapons and the web of camaraderie.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Soren Andersen

    The movie’s main drawback is that its main characters are surprisingly ill-defined.... It’s a frustrating flaw in an otherwise engrossing picture.

    The Seattle Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Bay and his screenwriter, Chuck Hogan, adapting the nonfiction bestseller “13 Hours,” by Mitchell Zuckoff and the members of the Annex Security Team, resolutely avoid any overt political inferences.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    13 Hours, by its very subject matter, can't help but tap into the confluent veins of politics and patriotism.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A straight-up combat film. Not a very good combat film — it wallows in genre clichés and makes a hash of its action scenes — but one that does get you to empathize with its grunts, the “secret soldiers” of the title.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Some of this is slick and enjoyable in what I'd characterize as the wrong way, the painlessly bloody, box-office-friendly way.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    As an action film, it is intense and gripping. As a drama, it is bombastic and unsubtle.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    As a brutal and gory combat picture with historical underpinnings, these “Secret Soldiers” acquit themselves heroically. The action is visceral and intense.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    After a string of iffy Transformers movies, Bay reminds that he can do a much better action movie with humans than alien robots: 13 Hours is his best work in the genre since his 1990s hits Bad Boys and The Rock.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The final word on this incident will require a more thoughtful filmmaker. But hopefully, that artist will possess at least half of Bay’s punishing, peerless craft.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • John Hazelton

    Intense battle action and rousing heroics just about make up for the dramatic shortcomings of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

    Screen International Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    The action is never topsy-turvy enough for 13 Hours to be mistaken for a Paul Greengrass film, but it’s also not so operatic that it feels like Bay is turning a tragedy into Bad Boys III.

    Slate Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It’s when bullets fly that Bay is at his best. He stages the battles well, and builds tension effectively and at times inventively.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The battle scenes are loud and jangly and dissonant enough to unnerve you — they work. But I’d like to see a congressional committee grill Bay and screenwriter Chuck Hogan about what’s going on half the time.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    To use what, under the circumstances, is a far too convenient metaphor, Bay is interested in accelerating from zero to 100 as quickly as possible and then maintaining speed, rather than skillfully shifting gears and adjusting speeds based on curves, hills and road conditions. In this case, he gets you there, but you know the ride could have been a lot more varied and nuanced.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Russ Fischer

    Bay's overwrought tendencies simultaneously lead to the film's most compelling sequences of tense, bloody battle even as they forestall the more nuanced storytelling that would be crucial to truly unpacking the attacks. Bay may see the film as a cry of truth; muffled by his own predilections it's only a whisper.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Packed with misfiring grenade launchers, blue lens flares, and Mercedes armored cars, 13 Hours makes the best case for Bay as a toy-box aesthete with an abstract sense of motion and color—and the best case against him as an incoherent jingoism fetishist.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kevin P. Sullivan

    There’s a real story of American heroism somewhere in here, but it’s diluted by Bay’s worst tendencies.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    [Bay's] tremendous sentimentality is a major issue, bogging down his efforts at realism in flag-waving, tear-jerking scenes that try to make every heartfelt emotion land with mortar-fire force.

    The Verge Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    13 Hours is another flag-wrapped paean to true-life Alamo heroism in the vein of Lone Survivor, hoping for ticket sales like American Sniper. Neither of those movies carry the political burden of 13 Hours, and Bay isn't one to channel it.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Kate Taylor

    Bay has attempted to carefully characterize and humanize each member of the security force, and Krasinski, Dale and Schreiber are largely successful at creating personable fighters.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    This action facility, however, is not enough to make "13 Hours" more than sporadically successful, in part because, at 2 hours and 24 minutes, the film is too long for its own good and risks feelings of repetition and exhaustion.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The movie is a relentlessly intense, grotesquely overblown and numbingly long account of extraordinary heroism on the part of six American security operators in the midst of horrific chaos.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    It’s long, downright dispiriting, enjoyable only sometimes, and yet there’s a feeling of authenticity. It’s neither bad nor good, but interesting. It might improve with age.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    It’s a nail-biter and a head-scratcher rolled into one: The mind may initially race to keep up with logistics, but eventually one acknowledges the futility of trying to make sense of a situation that Bay himself hasn’t managed to clarify.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jake Cole

    Of course, when the action gets underway, Bay unleashes that flashy id of his, and all of his flaws as a titan of blockbuster filmmaking come to the fore.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    A weird mix of pseudo-jingoism and Bay’s usual bombastic firepower, 13 Hours ends up being a straight-up war film without an actual war in it.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    In terms of anything that has to do with characterization, Chuck Hogan‘s script is punishingly rote. But as bombastic, shoot-‘em-up spectacle, 13 Hours is a visceral, well-paced and often beautiful action-thriller.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The movie is a pummeling slog — 45 minutes of setup and an eternity of relentless combat.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Is there an audience for this? Sadly, yes. There’s nothing wrong with a movie that cheers American heroes. But this one does so by reducing everything else to cardboard.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Peter Sobczynski

    As an action movie and as a historical document, it is a bombastic and wholly inauthentic mess that displays precious little interest in the men whose actions and sacrifices it purports to honor. Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    Abhorrent politics aside, it’s also a terrible movie. The dialogue is atrocious, the performances rote. One could make the case that its incoherence is a grand meta-narrative statement about the fluidity of combat, but I don’t think that’s the case.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Blake Goble

    Shots are short, oddly made, and shoddily smashed together. There’s no spatial continuity, let alone consistency in time of day, or even a care for any kind of visual coherence. 13 Hours is just chaos. It’s unwatchable, unlikable, and unworthy of respect.

    Consequence of Sound Full Review
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