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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Director Michael Bay's cinematic take on the 2012 Benghazi attack is a gritty look at American heroes in action. Based on the best-selling novel by Mitchell Zuckoff, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi transports moviegoers to the intense firefight that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Starring The Office's John Krasinski, 13 Hours recounts the timeline of events on the ground leading up to and through the September 11th attacks on two American compounds in Benghazi, Libya. Rated R for good reasons, this Paramount Pictures war movie warrants extreme caution.


Former Navy SEAL, turned CIA contractor Jack Silva (Krasinski) steps off of the plane in Benghazi into a hostile territory. Linking up with a team of the CIA's Global Response Staff, Silva begins his 60-day turn protecting covert operatives working undercover to track down munitions lifted from Muammar Gaddafi's abandoned armament that are headed for the black market. When a nearby diplomatic compound housing the American Ambassador takes on heavy fire, Silva and the rest of the GRS team are ready to go. Held back by the CIA base chief, the agents watch from afar as the compound burns in the distance. It's a call that proves deadly. The following, dangerous hours see the men in a battle to rescue, protect, and survive.


Forefront on many people's minds will be the politics surrounding what happened in Benghazi that night, as well as, the U.S. government's and certain officials' responses – or lack thereof. What moviegoers should know is that 13 Hours purposefully steers clear of politics. Instead, the almost 2.5-hour movie focuses on the real-life superheroes who, in the face of certain death, saved the lives of more than 20 Americans.

Krasinski, along with his costars James Badge Dale, Toby Stephens, Max Martini, Dominic Furmusa, David Denman and Pablo Schreiber, get their "characters" down (to the last detail, according to the real guys they're playing on screen). Some discerning moviegoers will likely critique the dialogue. It may seem pedestrian, but that's the everyday, sometimes foul, language these guys actually used. It's just one of the elements that lends to this film's authentic feel.

The Transformers director gives his best film in a while in 13 Hours. It's got his signature big explosions and bullet rainstorms, but there's enough character to engage you. Where it lacks is in the family moments, when the film shows the guys in touch with their loved ones back in the states. American Sniper did a great job on that front. Granted, Clint Eastwood's film had more opportunities to dip in that emotional well. Still, 13 Hours missed some real moments to show us truly how deep a sacrifice these contractors made to go overseas.

Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images, and language, 13 Hours is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 18. Extreme caution is advised for even older audiences. Offensive language (including F-bombs) is prevalent and quite gory scenes are shown, including a man's mangled hand hanging from his forearm.


If you are skittish when it comes to war movies, you might want to sit this one out. Should you be able to stomach the R-rated content, you will find 13 Hours an eye-opening film that chronicles the Benghazi attacks in a way you haven't yet heard the story.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's