Like watching a military video game



145 minutes/opens tomorrow/2/5 stars

The story: Six security team members defend the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, when it was attacked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Based on true events.

Even in an apparent film tribute to a group of American war heroes, director Michael Bay manages to make it all about himself.

Nothing is gleaned about the personal lives of any of the six security team members at the centre of the story here, other than the superficial fact that they each have either a wife or a girlfriend waiting for them back home.

Whether any of the soldiers survive is of little significance to Bay, it seems.

The bad guys they are fighting are equally faceless.

Instead, this is just another excuse for the director to have fun playing with many loud explosions. With the shootings and bombings going off incessantly for the movie’s almost 21/2-hour run, it feels like the film-maker is gleefully navigating a military video game and all the film’s characters are merepawns.

The hunks of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi include (from far left) Pablo Schreiber, John Krasinski, David Denman and Dominic Fumusa. PHOTO: UIP

Well, at least the pawns look good. Leading man John Krasinski, best known as goofy and lovable Jim Halpert in TV comedy The Office (2005 to 2013), is completely unrecognisable here as ubermachoex- Navy Seal Jack.

The actor never lets you forget just how much he has worked to transform himself into this ripped killing machine, showing off his gigantic biceps in a number of tight shirts.

There is, of course, a gratuitous scene where he takes off his top altogether for no reason other than to display his rock-hard abs. If he is trying to reinvent himself as a more serious actor, however, he chose the wrong project.

Character development has never been Bay’s strong suit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'Like watching a military video game'. Print Edition | Subscribe