13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 05-30-16, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 5,352
My System
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review


Title: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:


HTS Overall Score:93




Summary
The whole 2012 Benghazi incident is something that has been a heavily publicized and heavily debated incident for over 3 and half years since the horrible tragedy took place on Libyan soil. When I heard that Michael Bay was going to direct a film about the incident my first thought was to roll my eyes into the back of my head and just throw my hands up in disgust. Michael Bay is one of the most entertaining, yet reviled film makers in modern history for his love of things that go boom and complete disregard for cinematic tastes. I will admit that I’m 50/50 on the man as he’s made some amazing fun popcorn flicks like “Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys II”, “The Rock”, “The Island” and his pet project, “Pain and Gain”. On the flip side, he’s the poster child for mindless, brain numbing stupidity with the other half of his film repertoire. The “Transformers” films rake in BILLIONS of dollars, but are the cinematic equivalent of a lobotomy. That being said I started hearing positive reactions from close friends, sources I trusted and the general public (although it was split pretty much down the middle with critics), enough to make me tentatively curious and excited. So color me one eager beaver when the review copy of the Blu-ray shows up at my doorstep and I get to finally toss it in for a spin. Needless to say was bowled over at one of my Michael Bay’s more mature films, bringing him back up to the status of “The Rock” and “The Island” once more, blending his trademark action sequences with a tear jerking and salute inspiring retelling of that tragic 13 hour period when the temporary U.S. embassy in Benghazi was under fire from insurgents, and the men who fought to their very last breath to make sure as many people as they could would make it home.

Instead of focusing on the actual Benghazi embassy workers and the men and women who were brutally slaughtered by terrorists, Michael Bay focuses on the private security detail that tried to rescue the Ambassador and his aides in the situation. The time is Sept 2012, the location is Benghazi. Specialist Jack Silva (John Krasinski) is back in the game after coming back from 11 different engagements. Attached to a special CIA detail that is operating under the radar in Benghazi, he thinks he’s in for a cake walk. However we all know that this is just the calm before the storm. He and his six men security detail are unprepared for the hell that is going to be raining down on them that very night. Without warning a group of 30-40 men breach the temporary embassy that is located just a mile away from the CIA compound and the only ones left to stop the massacre are Jack and his team of elite operatives. The only thing is that they are ordered to stand down by the CIA lead agent (played by David Costabile), leaving the embassy open to complete decimation.

Refusing to follow the CIA directive, group leader, Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale) and the rest of the detail saddle up and go straight into the mouth of the beast. Sadly they are a little too late to save the Ambassador, but they are able to rescue a few of his personnel from the destruction. As much as this seems like a bittersweet ending, this game is far from over as now that they have made the CIA presence known to the insurgents the installation is the next target. Desperate for support and low on help Tyron, Jack and the rest of the men have one objective in mind. Hunker down in their base and protect every man woman and child from an assault that very well may overwhelm them until help can arrive.

Michael Bay is not known for his cultural sensitivity, but “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is one of his more mature films in recent years. Much like “Pain and Gain”, “13 Hours” was kind of a passion project for the director. Instead of getting heavily political he takes the angle of the security forces, the real heroes of that day, and lets the actions of these brave men and women come to the front screen. However, while there is no DIRECT political statement or diatribe from the characters, there is enough undertones coded into the film to get the message across. There have been rumors and intimations that something dirty and underhanded was going on behind the scenes, and while the film never says the name Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, those accusations to the Secretary making a stand down order are there as plain as the nose on your face (while we never see her give an order the CIA agent in charge uses those EXACT same words at one point in the film). The civilians in the base desperately call for air support hoping that the military could come to their aid with planes, but they get limited response, or they are jerked around by their chain as the bullets wiz overheard. The same can be said for the complete lack of military armaments that are afforded the makeshift embassy. 5 security personnel and some M4 Carbines are all that protect them when a full military guard with heavy weapons were usually proved, even to temporary embassy locations.

While the movie has a few conservative undertones (makes you wonder about Michael Bay’s political affiliations after having watched this pattern show up in several of his films), it is a thrilling ride from beginning to end. Michael Bay does what he does best and crafts a film that blends the patriotic heroism of these soldiers, as well as the incredible action sequences that the man is known for. I literally HATED “Transformers 4” and considered it a mind numbing assault on the senses with nonstop action, and even though there is tons of action in the 2 hour and 24 minute film, it never feels over bearing or “too much”. Guns, explosions, death and bayistic carnage are all present and accounted for, but the solid connection that the men have between each other allows for the viewer to bond with and feel for these men.

By the end of the movie I was snuffling like a child, with tears in my eyes and a deep sadness in my heart for the men who lost their lives that day. Much like “Lone Survivor” that sense of what might have been weighs heavy on me and I truly salute those soldiers for their dedication to survival. While I loved every second of the action film, I do have to acknowledge that SOME of the events of the day were based off of information that has never been truly confirmed, such as the stand down order from Clinton or the reason for the air ships never coming to back them up. That being said, the movies lives and survives off of the comradery of the six commandos present and their incredible will to survive.





Rating:

Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images and language






Video
Paramount day and date releases are usually VERY good, and “13 Hours” keeps up that tradition with an amazing Blu-ray encode. Paramount dedicate the entire Blu-ray disc to the feature film, and putting the single hour of special features on its own Blu-ray disc, giving the movie plenty of bitrate to breathe. The film looks absolutely amazing, with the dusty area of Benghazi showing plenty of natural colors along with the warm amber and browns that saturate the desert environment. Buildings show off incredible detailing and facial shots are intimate and detailed, allowing the audience to see every hair on the bearded warrior’s faces and individual stitching on the tactical vests. Black levels are deep and sickeningly inky, showing off incredible shadow detail without falling prey to any major crush or washed out black levels. Contrast is natural and well balanced, allowing for very pleasing skin tones and a satisfying look to the overall image (despite some sometimes pretty intense white levels). Simply put, a beautiful and demo worthy encode for sure.






Audio
I really just want to scream “THIS…IS…MICHAEL BAY!!!!” while kicking someone into a pit all King Leonidas style here, as the Dolby Atmos track is a monument to the man who loves to watch (and listen to) the world jut explode. Paramount’s Dolby Atmos track is absolutely flawless, with thunderous explosions and a hail of bullets coming from every direction. I’m not 15 minutes into the film before I’m giggling like a schoolgirl from the sheer immersiveness of the track. The surrounds are basically engaged from beginning to end, with all sorts of directional queues that shift the action around soundstage. The crumbling of wall fragments crash to the floor behind you, while the roar of a mortar flys across the overheads and slams into the ground with concussive force that keeps the LFE channel gasping for breath. Honestly I don’t think the subs VERY turned off as Michael Bay’s stereotypical love affair with heavy duty bass is satiated with nonstop explosions, car crashes and heavy intense bass lines litter the action movie. Dialog is always intelligible, even in the heat of battle and the dynamic range is punishing, with moments of quiet clarity torn apart at a moment’s notice with a slurry of intense action and gunfire.





Extras

• For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise
• Uncovering Benghazi's Secret Soldiers
• Preparing for Battle: Behind the Scenes of 13 Hours
• Operation "13 hours" Premiere
• In Memoriam






Overall:

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is not a perfect film, but it comes pretty stinking close to that mark, with thrilling action and nonstop tension from beginning to end. Bay refrains from over the top stupidity and his typical over indulgence in special effects, while crafting a film that is still full to the brim with incredible fight scenes and gut wrenching knowledge of the reality of the situation. The Blu-ray itself is given flawless audio and video encodes as well as a decent set of extras (although I honestly would be VERY surprised if we don’t see a special edition down the road with even more extras, much like WB did with “American Sniper”. Even if you’re not a fan of Michael Bay, I have to give a solid two thumbs up to the director for making a great movie about a very touchy subject. Highly recommended.


Additional Information:

Starring: John Krasinksi, James Badge Dale, Pable Schreiber
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Chuck Hogan (Screenplay), Mitchell Zuckoff (Book)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1, English 2.0 (for night listening)
Studio: Paramount
Rated: R
Runtime: 144 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 7th 2016




Buy 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi On Blu-ray at Amazon







Recommendation: Highly Recommended



More about Mike
Mike Edwards is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 Old 05-30-16, 09:49 AM
Elite Shackster
 
JBrax's Avatar
Jeff
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,290
My System
I've had this one circled on the calendar. Any idea if this will be released in 4K?
JBrax is online now  
post #3 of 10 Old 05-30-16, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 5,352
My System
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

Not as of yet

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #4 of 10 Old 05-30-16, 10:26 AM
Elite Shackster
Quenten
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 2,428
My System
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

Nice review Mike. I will watch this one as it sounds like the sound track is pretty special. I don't know how well I'll enjoy it though knowing in the back of my head how the politicians failed our military as well as civilians.

Which is exactly why Donald Trump is doing so well. I can't wait for the debate as I know he will be asking about this as well as many more "examples!" These were real people, not just blips on a screen.
Tonto is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 05-30-16, 11:03 AM
Elite Shackster
 
JBrax's Avatar
Jeff
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,290
My System
Quote:
Mike Edwards wrote: View Post
Not as of yet Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
Well that stinks! You would think the studios would be pushing the format. I was wanting to buy this one.
JBrax is online now  
post #6 of 10 Old 05-31-16, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 5,352
My System
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
Tonto wrote: View Post
Nice review Mike. I will watch this one as it sounds like the sound track is pretty special. I don't know how well I'll enjoy it though knowing in the back of my head how the politicians failed our military as well as civilians.

Which is exactly why Donald Trump is doing so well. I can't wait for the debate as I know he will be asking about this as well as many more "examples!" These were real people, not just blips on a screen.

Like "Lone Survivor" it was a rough movie to watch at times. However Michael Bay has that innate ability to make it almost enjoyable and uplifting at the same time, especially watching the camaraderie of the GSR team
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #7 of 10 Old 07-13-16, 02:01 PM
Shackster
 
NorthSky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 71
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

That was a powerful movie, on all fronts. ...A real sound assault.

Funny that Paramount didn't release it on UHD (4K - HDR).

Life, Love & the Blues
NorthSky is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 07-14-16, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 5,352
My System
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

yeah they hadn't released any UHD movies at that point. the first ones they did were a few weeks later with "Star Trek 2009" and "Star Trek: Into Darkness"
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #9 of 10 Old 07-15-16, 02:42 PM
Shackster
 
NorthSky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 71
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

They go where the money is...Star Trek. And I've read they did a good job with them two.

Life, Love & the Blues
NorthSky is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 07-15-16, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 5,352
My System
Re: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - Blu-ray Review

that they did, I reviewed them and they were stunning. full upgrade to Atmos and everything
Mike Edwards is online now  
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
13 , benghazi , bluray , hours , review , secret , soldiers

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now




PLEASE COMPLETE ALL REQUIRED FIELDS BELOW... THANKS!

REQUIRED FIELDS ON THIS PAGE
YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL OF THESE

Username
Password
Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2




User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
PLEASE READ BELOW PRIOR TO ENTERING AN EMAIL ADDRESS!

ATTENTION!

YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT!

Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.

AN INVALID EMAIL ADDRESS WILL CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE DELETED!

See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.


Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome