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REVIEW: '13 Hours' recaps Benghazi attack


John Krasinski leads an ensemble cast in the film 13 Hours, which is based on the true story of the Benghazi attack, which occurred on September 11, 2012. Krasinski portrays Jack Silva, a defense contractor and former Navy Seal.  He is the newest team member of a US security detail to arrive to support a CIA compound. The entire team has extensive military experience, serving in elite units before taking private contract work.

The team is on assignment at a CIA covert location, located near a US diplomatic compound. When the US Ambassador comes to the region, local militants attack the compound, leaving the US security ill prepared for such an assault. The CIA security team ultimately responds, hoping to rescue the ambassador and his men. Photo: www.youtube.com

Silva has worked with Tyrone “Rone” Woods before, and they are matter of fact about the work that lies ahead. Rone is played by James Badge Dale, who is a bit of a chameleon; he has supporting roles in The Walk, World War Z, and Iron Man 3. The men have an easy camaraderie and ribb each other often, when they aren’t applying their tremendous military expertise to their assignment.

Krasinski, better known as the likeable prankster Jim Halpert from the TV show The Office, hit the gym and transformed himself for the role. With 25 pounds of extra muscle on his normally rangy frame, he is a physically imposing presence. The rest of the men are equally jacked, and more importantly, they are excellent actors.

Kris “Tanto” Paronto, who plays Pablo Schreiber,  is the wise ass of the group, while David Denman portrays Dave “Boon” Benton, a quiet intellectual. Nurse Jackie’s Dominic Fumusa is John “Tig” Tiegen, the calmest of the bunch and most familiar with the terrain. And last but not least, Max Martini is Mark “Oz” Geist, who gets separated from the rest of the team. Martini previously had roles in Pacific Rim and Fifty Shades of Grey.  David Giuntoli from the TV show Grimm also has a supporting role as part of the Ambassador’s protective unit.

13 Hours successfully balances the storytelling with its action sequences. This is not a typical Michael Bay popcorn movie. Perhaps the director is maturing, as he has taken great care to show the men as well rounded individuals, who struggle with taking dangerous assignments like this, while leaving their families stateside. The movie is based on the book by the same title, and tells the story from the CIA team’s point of view.

Bay keeps the story moving, and the pacing is fantastic. Things do slow down a bit when he shifts gears to provide more time towards character development. He also does a decent job keeping politics out of the story, but certain government agencies look culpable, or at least incompetent.  

The attack sequences seem realistic – so the movie is not for the faint hearted. It also contains a scene with a graphic injury.  

13 Hours provides an intense, somber look at a terrible tragedy, but thanks to the security team, over 20 American lives were saved.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: youtube.com