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13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: One of The Most Intense & Authentic Military Thrillers [Blu-ray Review]

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From Paramount Pictures and director Michael Bay comes the harrowing true story thriller 13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, based on the novel by Mitchell Zuckoff and members of the Annex Security Team. The Blu-ray combo pack will be available to own June 7, 2016 and you can rent or own the film digitally today.

During an attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

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Review

Don’t you just love it when Michael Bay gets serious? I mean, we all know and enjoy those ridiculous Transformers movies, but when Bay gets down and dirty and he makes a FOR REAL serious flick like 13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, isn’t it crazy how well they turn out? It’s no secret how much love Bay has for the US military. He’s done war thrillers before and he’s done a great job. With this one though – something just felt so damn special, so real and I think that’s due to the actual guys being on set every day to consult with the cast and crew. These men, who were involved in this moment where the shit hit the fan in Benghazi, were right there inbetween takes to give advice to the actors who were playing them, or the actors playing their friends who lost their lives – and give them a sense of what they went through in 2012…

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What I really loved the most about 13 Hours, aside from the absolutely mind-boggling attention to detail and respect for the true story behind the film, were the casting choices. Everyone from John Krasinski and Pablo Schreiber who were mostly known for their comedic work to guys like James Badge Dale, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa and Max Martini. My god Martini – what the hell dude – I think that has to be one of the most manly, badass supporting performances in years. There’s a moment near the climax of the film where Martini’s character Oz, winds up injured in one of the most gruesome ways and continues to help out…. Unfuckingreal – and that happened. Mark ‘Oz‘ Geist was a consultant on the film and was there right alongside Martini – that man is a beast and I have so much respect for someone like that.. All of these guys. 

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Bay’s movie really focuses in on the tight-nit group of guys, these marines and rangers who are in Benghazi to protect CIA spies when they’re out doing their thing. We spend a significant amount of time getting to know each and every one of these soldiers and when we finally wind up in the throes of violence and chaos, we really, truly feel worried that at any moment any of them could be gone in an instant. I was not aware of the true story behind this movie. I didn’t know who made it out alive before watching 13 Hours so by the time credits rolled, I was stunned and speechless at what had transpired. This is easily one of the most authentic military thrillers that I’ve ever seen.

The film is not without it’s flaws – I do feel it was a little long in some parts and I’m still not sure Bay can write a female character who isn’t there to just be either eye-candy or a total bitch (in this movie opting for bitch), but hey, 13 Hours is a testosterone-fuelled guy flick when it all boils down to it. It’s not without heart though and I really did get caught up in that aspect of the movie. My favorite action sequence was a riveting car chase that has to go down as one of the craziest goddamn things I’ve seen Bay do and that’s saying a lot. I’m also surprised at how restrained Bay was when it came to the explosions – he really did keep this thing grounded in reality and nothing ever felt over-the-top because he treated this film with so much respect, that he knew he had to keep the silliness in check.

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13 Hours The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is easily one of the most intense and authentic true-story military thrillers ever produced. The performances here are riveting and unbelievable – remember when Krasinski was this close to becoming Captain America? Well his portrayal in 13 Hours blows Cap right the hell out of the picture when it comes down to hero against hero.

Special Features

  • For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise
  • Uncovering Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers
  • Preparing for Battle: Behind the Scenes of 13 Hours
  • And More!

I enjoyed the special features more than the film and I really enjoyed the film, but my god the behind-the-scenes features included in this package are STACKED. Watching the real guys who were there, hanging out with the cast and visiting the sets which took them back to that traumatic time in their lives – simply incredible moments here. During one of the interviews,  Kris “Tanto” Paronto (played by Schreiber in the film) actually starts to have a bad flashback as he’s talking about it. These men went through some life-changing dark shit and they’re here revisiting it so we can all see what these soldiers – these GRS operators went through. Over 3500 GRS operatives have died since 9/11. And many of them who no longer go overseas to fight, are trying to live normal lives in the wake of horrific events like the one adapted for this movie.

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Seeing the real guys and seeing SO MUCH of the special features dedicated entirely to them on this Blu-ray was awesome. Seeing Oz and Martini (the man playing Oz in the film) side by side and not being able to tell them apart is ridiculous. They didn’t plan it out – but holy shit do they look the same. Apparently at one point they actually took the real Oz and stuck him in a vehicle scene and nobody noticed till it was over. If there was an awards for best special features on a Blu-ray, then this set would be a top contender in 2016.

Rating:

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