May 242019

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an even-keeled telling of the events of that night with minimal political undertones sticking with the actual attacks. The performances are all well done highlighted by James Badge Dale and John Krasinski.



13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Genre(s): Action, Drama, War
Paramount | R – 144 min. – $25.99 | June 11, 2019

Date Published: 05/24/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Michael Bay

Writer(s): Mitchell Zuckoff (book), Annex Security Team (memoirs); Chuck Hogan (screenplay)
Cast: James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Alexia Barlier, David Costabile, Toby Stephens
Features: Featurettes

Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray (features only)
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), English (Discrete Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Discrete Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Paramount provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The movie, features and audio portions were copied over from the 2016 Blu-ray review.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

“What would they say about me? ‘He died in a place he didn’t need to be, in a battle over something he doesn’t understand, in a country that meant nothing to him.’” – Jack Silva

Michael Bay is a baffling filmmaker. Whenever he diverts his attentions away from the inane Transformers franchise, he shows flashes of being a competent director from Bad Boys to even Pain & Gain (which I wasn’t a big fan of but was passable enough). Now he helms the war drama 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, a tense thriller with some impressive action scenes but also some compelling performances.

The story, based on true events from the novel of the same name as well as memoirs of the soldiers themselves, begins a few days before the event as Jack Silva (JOHN KRASINSKI) has arrived in Libya to join a team of private security contractors working for the CIA in a compound, called The Annex, in Benghazi, a mile away from the American consulate. Silva is picked up by best friend and all around bad ass Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods (JAMES BADGE DALE).

Following a brief tense moment on a blocked road, where the pair faces down rebels and a leader cleric, they arrive to the fortified “secret” CIA annex complex and Silva is given a tour, lay of the land and introduction to his fellow soldiers — Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto (PABLO SCHREIBER), Dave ‘Boon’ Benton (DAVID DENMAN), John ‘Tig’ Tiegen (DOMINIC FUMUSA) and Mark ‘Oz’ Geist (MAX MARTINI) — as well as a man known only as Bob (DAVID COSTABILE), the CIA base chief who isn’t too fond of the contractors and vice-versa.

The film takes place over the course of a few days and we get some character moments, an introduction to Ambassador Chris Stevens (MATT LETSCHER), the lay of the land between the CIA annex and the diplomatic compound, just how dangerous Libya is in just trying to distinguish friend from foe and eventually those inside the annex, as it’s being attacked by a swarm of terrorists, attempts to get air support.

First and foremost, 13 Hours does display that Michael Bay isn’t just flash. No, the substance might be lacking but the core subject of survival and the bravery these soldiers had in the face of a barrage of firepower is amazing in of itself but Bay intertwines a compelling story with his specialty of action and with it placing the viewers in the shows of the soldiers. Sure, there are the typical Bay-isms in terms of big explosions and yet I found them far more gripping than anything in his Transformers movies.

The acting also is impressive. James Badge Dale unsurprisingly has some great scenes however the surprise for me was John Krasinski as a believable soldier, shedding his more comedic talents from “The Office” and turns in a convincing performance and is the highlight of the ensemble, of course he also gets the most depth with one particular scene in which he’s video chatting with his wife who, with a few screaming kids in the back, is going through a McDonalds drive-thru when one of them blurts out her mommy is pregnant; it’s a wonderful scene and Krasinski, as well as Alexia Barlier as his wife, pulls it off beautifully with raw emotion.

The supporting cast is also impressive headlined by Max Martini, an actor who has increasingly become one of my favorite character actors of late. He does get a bit lost amidst the action and taking a backseat to Dale and Krasinski, but he does have a few good scenes.

By no means perfect, and doesn’t hold a candle compared with other war dramas, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a solid thriller with fine performances all around and shows that Michael Bay does possess talent in telling a good story yet given this and The Island did, at best, meager numbers at the box office while Transformers remains strong worldwide, it’s no wonder Bay will continue to make them.



This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All the features are contained on a Blu-ray disc. There is no separate Blu-ray with just the movie.

For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise (8:02; HD) is a short featurette on looking at the real events and how the filmmakers focused on the event itself removing the outside politics. Features interviews not only with the cast and crew but the soldiers themselves.

Uncovering Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers (27:34; HD) is a set of interviews with the soldiers who fought during the attack and those who portrayed them set against behind-the-scenes footage and them visiting the annex set.

Preparing for Battle: Behind the Scenes of 13 Hours (26:24; HD) is a decent enough making-of featurette and includes more on-location interviews with the cast and crew (though Bay is absent outside of the BTS footage) as they discuss the characters and story.

Operation: 13 Hours Premiere (3:00; HD) is just some footage from the screening at AT&T Stadium (aka “Jerry World”).

In Memoriam (2:58; HD) – In all of the chaos and fighting, this featurette focuses on those who lost their lives that night (Chris Stevens, Glen ‘Bub’ Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods).


VIDEO – 5.0/5

Paramount releases 13 Hours onto the 4K format presented in the film’s original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a great looking 2160p high-definition transfer. No real surprise here, as the Blu-ray already looked fantastic in its own right, this takes it up a slight notch in comparison. Detail is incredibly sharp and colors are on the oversaturated side in keeping with the hot, desert climate while dipping into the cooler realm during the nighttime scenes. Won’t say this was a significant improvement over the Blu-ray, yet still looks superb.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an even-keeled telling of the events of that night with minimal political undertones sticking with the actual attacks. The performances are all well done highlighted by James Badge Dale and John Krasinski. The 4K Ultra HD released through Paramount offers excellent video/audio transfers and a good selection of bonus material.


OVERALL – 4.5/5






The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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