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13 Hours (The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi)


Stars: John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, David Benman, Dominic Fumusa, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, Alexia Barlier, David Costabile, Toby Stephens, Wrenn Schmidt

Director: Michael Bay

A noisy, firefight-filled account of the siege in September 2012 by heavily-armed insurgents, of America's 'temporary diplomatic outpost' in Benghazi, in the eastern part of Libya. But for the help of six CIA special-forces soldiers, drafted in to help protect the 'special mission compound', then being visited by the US ambassador, the legation would have been overrun with considerably more loss of life than was in fact incurred.

Reinforcements are slow in coming, and the magnificent six are forced to defend the mission against heavy odds in what one describes as 'a Benghazi Alamo'.

After a lengthy preamble, the '13 hours' begin on the night of September 12. Somehow making it through the night, the special forces sense a major attack is yet to come. 'Every ranger knows,' says one with grim humour, 'that dawn is when the Indians attack.'

Such shafts of humour are welcome in an unrelenting slew of action. Events are often hard to follow and it's difficult to tell one US soldier from another as they all sport serious facial hair.

If it's action you're after though, this lengthy, if well-made and smartly-edited slice of it certainly fits the bill. The 'Secret Soldiers' subtitle, though used in all the advertising, does not appear on screen.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
145 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 27 Jan 2016