Tonight, we're reviewing "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazi" starring John Krazinski, and directed by Michael Bay. Mike, what did you think?
: I thought this movie was excellent. I couldn't believe it was a Michael "Transformers" Bay movie.
This is what I had hoped Pearl Harbor would be, but was disappointed.
What did you think?
His stylistic choices are abundant, but 13 Hours didn't come across as a typical Bay-fest, which has fatigued many an audience member.
Ripped right out of the headlines, this movie is about the controversial attack at a U.S. compound in Libya from 2012.
: Normally his visuals look amazing, but as an audience member you can only appreciate it for the length of a commercial.
This movie had depth, characterization and some nice acting. I think this movie based on a true story ranks with Zero Dark Thirty.
: Zero Dark Thirty is the cerebral cousin of 13 Hours, in my opinion.
But I liken this film more to Black Hawk Down.
: This had the same kind of realism as both those films. I can see the Black Hawk Down comparison.
: Yeah, all the gunfire!
I was pleasantly surprised by the casting choices. When you hear that the protagonist is being played by John Krasinski, you have to scratch your head.
Not only is he good, he bulked up and worked out for the part.
And thinking of Black Hawk Down, it was directed by Ridley Scott. And I always enjoyed his brother, Tony's, work. I won't say that Michael Bay emulates Tony, but they've always been on the same wavelength.
:I think both Tony and Michael got there start in TV commercials. Sometimes that leads to all flash and no substance. That is not always bad if you are directing a Transformers movie or other guilty pleasure.
: Krasinski plays Jack Silva, a contract mercenary whose job is to protect the CIA compound in Libya. Of course he has two more weeks before he goes home, but all hell breaks loose before he can return stateside.
The rest of the cast includes James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber and David Denman.
And yes, Krasinski and Denman were both on the US version of The Office together!
: Dale seems right after starring in HBO's Pacific miniseries. So does Max Martini from the TV show the Unit.
What's odd is seeing both men who were in love with Pam on the Office fighting together. Just is odd is seeing "Pornstache" Schrieber from Orange is the New Black here.
Strange choices on paper, but great choices in execution.
: Yes -- I was trying to place Schrieber the whole time and couldn't figure it out until IMDB saved my brain any more pain.
: More trivia; He is the younger half brother of Liev Schreiber.
: But all-in-all, I truly wonder how much of this is true or fictionalized. Sure, the filmmakers put the label on the opening card "This is a true story", but I'd love to read the source material.
It makes me want to read the book in much the same way I wanted to read American Sniper after I saw the film.
Every time I see a movie based on a true story, it sends me straight to the internet for some research.
: I appreciate how the writers inserted a healthy amount of comedic one-liners to keep the gunfights bearable. Too much violence can start to get depressing over the course of 2 1/2 hours
: Even though it seems strange, I suspect that is what keeps soldiers in a situation like this sane as well. I felt like it added to the realism.
How do you rate this Michael?
: It was really enjoyable and I would recommend seeing it -- if you like action movies. It's probably not a film that I'll see multiple times, and in that case I give it a 3 1/2 our of 5. I feel that Michael Bay has finally matured as a filmmaker. But that feeling will probably go away when I see the first trailer to Transformers 5.
So, Mike, how would you rate 13 Hours?
I give this a 4 out of 5. The movie was well done. Not knowing many of the details of the Benghazi attack, I found this to be harrowing. I didn't know who was going to survive and I cared about the characters. I will say that it is not for everyone. If you had a hard time with Zero Dark Thirty or Lone Survivor, this is not your cup of tea.