13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Synopsis of the movie from elsewhere else...

"On Sept. 11, 2012, Islamic militants attack the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, an officer for the Foreign Service. Stationed less than one mile away are members (James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini) of the Annex Security Team, former soldiers assigned to protect operatives and diplomats in the city. As the assault rages on, the six men engage the combatants in a fierce firefight to save the lives of the remaining Americans."

When Doug Palumbo had this conversation about movies in general last year and we both disclosed this nugget about our viewing habits; while watching a movie we can't help ourselves but wonder if we could survive the action we're watching.

As if this movie, "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" wasn't captivating enough, after the first viewing I kept asking myself how would I survive a situation like this? How could I have survived the aforementioned assault on the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi, and the firefights that occurred on foot and on the road back and forth between there and the secret CIA complex just a mile or so away?

How could someone like myself who would most likely be a tourist in the wrong place at the wrong time – as would most likely be the case if I had actually been in Benghazi – keep my chin up and my fedora during this action? Because after watching this movie and seeing how special forces veterans had a difficult time makes me question my own masculinity and if I should find new ways to "man up."

Similar to "Deepwater Horizon," this isn't an in-depth movie about what ‘really happened' with the endless and boring exposition of what caused the disaster. Or, as it should be called, a ‘terrorist attack.' "13 Hours" is of the new breed of "historical drama's dressed as action flicks."

This movie depicting what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11th, 2012 has little to do with the political drama that occurred in The White House under Barack Obama and The State Department under Hillary Clinton with the occasional "call for back-up" scenes that take place in the American embassy in Tripoli, Libia as they watch and listen to the events unfold via satellites and telephones.

There are half a dozen scenes that are used for dramatic effects that prove that our heroes in this film from the CIA compound - Jack Silva, Tyrone 'Rone' Woods, Kris 'Tanto' Paronto, Dave 'Boon' Benton, John 'Tig' Tiegen and Mark 'Oz' Geist – were all on their own and no one was coming to save them until the danger had passed.

And because these are some tough but funny characters, we care about them and when they're finally under siege in the last scenes in the movie that makes the last stand at The Alamo look civil, we're concerned about them and we're with them in spirit. Which is why some of the outcomes rip our hearts out.

And – why, yes! There are a lot of explosions and gunfire. There are a lot of grisly dismemberments and graphic injuries. There are some visuals that are intense with spilled blood and shattered bone that is enough to make many of us with stainless steel stomach's want to watch. This is, after all, a "Michael Bay" film after all.This is damning with faint praise but I'll write this anyway – this is by far one of Micheal Bay's best films, but it's obviously a Micheal Bay film.

As someone who read the book this movie was based upon, "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi," by Mitchell Zuckoff, it would be really easy to want more of the details that happened which lead to the events depicted in this film. Yet, at the same time, I understand why the original 4-hour version of this movie was trimmed down to its current running time. As stripped down as it is, "13 Hours" still tells a captivating story that should anger some in the audience who pay attention.

If you want to know more about what happened behind the scenes in Benghazi from everything from Washington DC to the embassy's in Libia than read Mr. Zuckoff's book. If you want to get the feel of the sights and sounds of that specific terrorist attack, then this flick is what you're looking for.