13 Hours' Benghazi Heroes soar in 4K
By Jim Bray
Want one more clear and bright reason to holler "Lock her Up!"? Try this UHD HDR 4K version of Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi." The movie tells the true-life story (Hollywoodized, of course) of some true American heroes who were hung out to dry by their government.
13 Hours is not only a good movie, it's an important one in this age of social justice BS being foisted by Hollowwood in movie after movie. It's a true blowing of the whistle on the corrupt Obama regime that appears to have treated the military as pawns to be used and abused as the elites deemed.
Butchering in Benghazi
As I mentioned when I reviewed the initial Blu-ray release of 13 Hours, I've never been a huge fan of Michael Bay's films, "which mostly provide great summer action with great special effects and poundingly loud soundtracks. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, and judging from Bay's box office success I may be a voice in the wilderness. Still, I like my action leavened with a little substance - movies I can watch multiple times and get more out of each time. So Bay, of the Transformers franchise, seemed like an odd choice to helm a film about an incident that would have been a dark stain on the Obama/Clinton regime were most of the media not dedicated to ensuring the regime only received fawning praise."
And then came Trump! Hallelujah!
13 Hours seems more like a Ridley Scott movie (a la "Black Hawk Down") than one of Bay's action/adventure outings, though Bay's preference for on screen mayhem and destruction does get an excellent workout here. And isn't it interesting that both Black Hawk Down and 13 Hours can be connected easily to the name Clinton: BHD was during the Bill/Hillary co-presidency, while 13 Hours happened on Obama's watch, when the supposedly (and hopefully) currently-under-criminal-investigation Hildebeast was acting as his Secretary of State.
It would have been easy for 13 Hours to focus on the political aspects of this tragic event, in which (as I said in that earlier review) "Clinton, Obama and their cabal of little friends left people to die and then lied about the cause of the event." Rather, it's the human story surrounding the "boots on the ground" in Benghazi and it relegates the political stuff for the extra materials on the accompanying Blu-ray (the same extras as on that earlier release).
13 Hours begins with the Benghazi arrival of the latest special contractor to the CIA who's there to protect their operatives, though judging from the head CIA dude they really don't deserve it. Nearly the first half hour is spent getting to know these guys and learning the situation on the ground at that time in 2012.
After they receive word that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was planning to visit Benghazi, they're ordered to protect him. Then, on September 11, 2012 – the anniversary of the 9/11 Muslim attacks on the United States – all hell truly breaks loose. The compound is under siege and the wildly outgunned contractors are forced into an action they had no reason to expect. Sure, they understood where they were (one of those so-called "fece-hole countries") – that, after all, was why they were there – but they were contractors, not a military force that was equipped for and tasked with handling such invasions.
So, they spend the next 13 hours fighting for their lives, and in too many cases giving them up, trying to protect the civilians under their wings. Of course, they call for reinforcements, but either there was no one home in that Obamanation or the Obama/Hillary's regime had priorities other than we've been allowed to believe.
13 Hours works like a straightforward action film, whether fiction or not, and is quite enjoyable in that vein. I got drawn into the film more than I expected when I first watched it, and grew to really respect the contractors who couldn't even tell who the good guys were and who weren't. These men did everything they could and it appears it was enough to save all but four lives – three contractors and Ambassador Stevens – before the attack finally ended. The movie also shows the audience clearly that this was no spontaneous eruption of Muslim mania, or a YouTube protest, but a planned attack.
The producers enlisted some of the surviving contractors as technical advisors, and they were involved in the writing as well as being on set. Thanks to the efforts of all involved, 13 Hours is a riveting film.
It was also a great example of the Blu-ray format, and now it's an even better showcase for 4K. Paramount's set includes both 4K and a code for a digital download. There's also a Blu-ray that contains all the extras of the previous release, but there's no Blu-ray version of the movie itself.
The 4K HDR picture is superb, a lovely upgrade from the previous 1080p version. The color palette is exquisite, with excellent depth; it's truly a very vibrant picture. Skin tones, sweat, beards, dirt, fine detail, all are "pop off the screen" quality with great sharpness and black levels. Bay films, as far as I've seen, are usually treats for the eyes and this 4K UHD HDR version is definitely no exception. It's at least as good as the Transformers films I've seen in 4K.
Audio is Dolby Atmos, backward compatible for "real world" home theatres, and it's what one might expect from a Michael Bay film: loud, brash, in your "face" (well, ears), involving and enveloping. Gunfire zips all around the home theatre and I'm quite confident military buffs will be able to differentiate the different ordnance from their sounds. Bass is deep and rich, rattling the bones like it should in a film such as this. Dialogue comes through well, and even the musical score is clear and clean.
The extras on the Blu-ray disc are quite superb and really should be watched. There's "For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise", which looks at the writing and how the book on which the film is based was adapted – and here's where the politics comes in.
"Uncovering Benghazi's Secret Soldiers" looks at the real-life heroes involved and how they worked on the film, as well covering the profession of such contractors in the real world. "Preparing for Battle: Behind the Scenes of '13 Hours'" is a really great "making of" feature, one of the better ones I've seen. There's also a short look at the film's premier in Dallas and an In Memoriam feature in which "Amazing Grace" is played behind a display of the names and pictures of the men who died that night.
More than just an action or war movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an admittedly Hollywoodized but mostly accurate (Kind of like "the Longest Day," I guess) account of a dark moment during a dark time in American history. It should be shown in schools (other than the language and violence).
But I shan't hold my breath.
Copyright 2019 Jim Bray
Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.