“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is one of those films that has stayed on my mind since January. While I initially compared the film to “The Delta Force”, Cannon didn’t have the mental capacity to do what Bay did here. Restaging the assault on Benghazi in the immediate critical view, Bay uses ambiguity as a weapon. To say that the film isn’t propaganda is a misstep. But, it’s high quality propaganda. The kind of propaganda that one doesn’t typically associate with Bay.
Benghazi remains a political hot potato that many want to forget. While it represents the continual failings of the US Intel community, the event still gets skewed by different interests groups. Bay knows how to shoot action in the way that Sirk made us care about maudlin upper class white people in the 1950s. Celebrating the hidden grandiose nature of the minute and taking base action to operatic levels creates movies that shouldn’t work. But, you feel for the members of the security team. They didn’t ask to be there and they didn’t have the bigger picture of the conflict. But, they did their jobs.
Other directors would’ve approach the film with a clear-cut agenda or trying to libsplain away the Benghazi situation. Setup in this film exists to bolster the later action. Bay chooses ambiguity to compliment his traditional theatrics, because he’s daring the audience to fill in the gaps. The diehard Bay fans will just accept the set pieces, while the ever enlightened Film Elite will try to make sense of every little nuance. Sometimes, the director is in on the joke before you. It’s up to the viewer to decide what they choose to see.
The 4K disc boasts a rather robust 2.39:1 2160p transfer. However, it’s still upscaled. It looks better than the Blu-ray, but I’m an incredible stickler for making sure we get true 4K transfers. The Dolby Atmos track will more than make up for the transfer. 13 Hours while political is still a Michael Bay movie. You come for that next-gen visual immersion and less of the special features ported over from the 13 Hours Blu-ray.