13 Hours tells the story of the Benghazi attack in which a US Ambassador was killed and US forces were called to defend a secret compound in Libya. Most viewers have probably seen or at least heard what a political screw up the Benghazi situation was in 2012. Thankfully, this movie avoids the political maelstrom and instead focuses on the six heroes who defended American citizens from overwhelming opposition. That’s the first bit of good news, the second is the movie is not overly “Bayified”. One can imagine countless slow motion scenes of explosions, over the top action sequences with impossible stunts, and maybe even some hyper weapons thrown in to boot. Thankfully, the movie avoids these over dramatizations and delivers a solid story of the soldiers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
The writers and directors do a worthy job of connecting us with the humanity of the soldiers and the situation in Libya during the course of the film. Perhaps some of these scenes are a bit forced, showing how a father longs to be with his children but has another calling to be a solider. Once the battle starts up, the movie delivers edge of your seat action as wave after wave of bad guys descend on our heroes. A strong connection is made with the audience so I think most movie goers will walk out a bit shaken but smiling at the quality of film experience delivered over the course of two plus hours.
At one point during the action Tanto is chatting with Oz in between battles and admits he does not fear the battle. That when bullets are flying and death looms all around him, he is not fearful. He says that he thinks God must be protecting him because of his lack of fear. Oz, who previously delivered a spiritual insight that all gods are within us, does not make much of Tanto’s revelation. I thought it interesting that Tanto would equate lack of fear with supernatural protection. As compared to countless bible characters such as David who falls to his knees in fear and prays to God for supernatural protection. Proverbs tells us the fear of the Lord is the start of wisdom. In scripture those who fear God are trustworthy and of sound character because they are not being swayed by the temptations of the world, instead they grounded in their stance before an all-powerful creator. Tanto may not have had this kind of fear in mind when he proclaims his lack of fear in the face of death. But his statements can serve as a reminder, we are not called to fear those who can kill the body, but can’t touch the soul. Rather soldiers on the battlefield or bullies in our school fear not man, fear God and trust him with the outcome of your circumstances.
5 out of 7 – 13 Hours delivers a compelling action drama telling the Benghazi story from the perspective of the soldiers instead of the failed politics. A story worthy of your visit to the theaters this weekend. Rated R primarily for scenes of war violence (a few which can only be described as disgusting but are included to show the brutality of war and what happened to one of the soldiers) and a light amount of bad language. This is a tame R compared to other war movies in both language and violence.