Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

13 Hours (2016)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman


This movie oozes with Bay’s visual style. Scenes are overly color-treated and contrasty, characters are all good-looking, orange, shiny, each trying to out-cool the other with macho lingo. Editing is predictably kinetic and with predictable interludes of slow-motion. Good action, though, with firefights and explosions that are intense and believable. There’s certainly a playbook to creating a Michael Bay movie.

A companion piece to Zero Dark Thirty and Sniper, similar movies about contemporary conflicts with common themes and bearded tough guys playing American soldiers. (Do all of our soldiers really look like that?) My biggest problem with 13 Hours is that, unlike the others, we don’t really know whose story this is. The other movies have a central character through whom we experience the story and the drama, and while I thought that it might be Krasinski in this one, the scenes veer off and make this more of an ensemble piece. It’s hard to create real drama in an ensemble piece, because few, if any, of the characters have engaging emotional arcs.

Interesting, and too bad, that this was a financial disappointment. Bay doesn’t need any more encouragement to keep making shitty Transformers movies.

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