Michael Bay has never been the answer to direct movies based on real events. Because it didn’t work out well with 2001’s Pearl Harbor and 2013’s Pain and Gain. But 13 Hours is one of those movies where he didn’t rely on his style of directing to make a good war movie, and for a movie with his name on it, that’s a sign it’s going to be effortless just like with the Transformers franchise.
I’ll say it right now. 13 Hours is one of Bay’s best work in a long time. This story back in 2012 about Benghazi attack never came in my mind about how this came true and it’s up to these brave men to fight them off. It seems like Bay recognized that this is a story that needs to pay respect to the fallen soldiers. In a shocking this to actually say, that’s a credit to him and writer Chuck Hogan. He did just that by following this military base and feels like you’re in the battle with the action scenes that sounded great and filmed with some flair.
The standouts were both James Badge Dale and John Krasinski as they were the leads we need to care about and hope to survive in the long run. But even though this is Bay’s best film since The Rock, this isn’t a perfect movie because some problems would be the development of the characters were unclear and typical, some shots that show brief gruesomeness was unnecessary and it’s a bit long, especially with some slow-motion, and it doesn’t go into the politics about how the situation begins in its writing with the motivation about why the attackers are doing it.
This isn’t anywhere near Zero Dark Thirty or Lone Survivor by any chance. Better than American Sniper, to be honest. But there was engagement being shown through, but enough to say that this is a true story that’s intense and makes you feel like you’re on this mission and this is coming from someone who hates Bay as a director. As it stands, he gave it his all with this.
But 13 Hours showed what people also wanted to see from Bay’s direction. This was a mature and respectful way of telling this true story of real heroes that didn’t need to rely on Bay-isms that have happened in this past few movies.