Michael Bay and a movie got together and the result was very good…am I drunk? Well, maybe a little but keep reading.
Michael Bay likes to blow shit up, and frankly, it’s gotten old. He’s an itchy trigger finger behind a camera with a big wad of cash. What’s the purpose if there’s no skill or construction to the mayhem? Bay has given the movie world too many(four and counting) Transformers movies. He tried comedy and failed with Pain and Gain. He handed Bad Boys off to Joe Carnahan(thank god). 13 Hours, released in January and hitting DVD this winter, was the exception to the Bay rule. It didn’t suck. The movie was really good.
The director needed true brass balls to take the true story of six mercenaries and Ex-Navy Seals who decide to stay and defend an American compound in the middle of a rebel outbreak in Libya and turn it into a cinematic experience. Bay does blow stuff up, but the shocking element here is there is a lining of soul attached to the explosives.
He pauses to get inside the heads of these heroes and see what makes them do the things they do. The security team could have abandoned the compound and just fucking left. It was an easy alternative, but they stayed and a couple of them died trying to save a U.S. diplomat and his staff.
It helps to have a ripped John Krasinki, a witty Pablo Schneiber, and a gung ho James Badge Dale. The latter is one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood, combining the rage of war and the strain it has on a soldier’s mind and family. The actors are very good here, and don’t have to stretch for trophies and sacrifice the true warriors they inhibit for this film. Leave the Oscar and take the authenticity with a film like this.
Bay takes a page out of Peter Berg’s book, and must have watched Lone Survivor before making this film. Berg and Tony Scott make fast moving dizzy visceral adventures, but every one of their films has a soul and intent. Up until now, Bay’s films were barrels of shit in a theater that somehow grossed hundreds of millions of dollars.
This film gets dirty. Bay executes the shaky cam to perfection and layers all the action with a premeditated tension that never gets too far off the surface. You feel danger in every damn scene, and it’s beautiful because this bittersweet tale needed a dose of shock and awe.
In the end, Bay didn’t fuck it up. He made a great film. A movie that rests on my top ten list of 2016 as I type. Hold on…doing a quick shot of Petron as I continue after saying “Top Ten” and “Michael Bay” in one sentence. 2016 hasn’t been a smooth ride at the movies. Star Wars tales have bookended the movie season, but there were a miracle or two and this film was one of them.
If I had watched this movie without knowing who directed it, I would have been astounded to find out Bay was responsible. Having Chuck Hogan(The Town) iron out the book that the movie is based on helped. Having hard boiled actors like Dale helps. Having a bearded guy from The Office helps.
If you normally don’t like Bay films but like true story war movies, check out 13 Hours. It is well worth your time.
I still can’t believe it.