13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi has so many beefy bearded guys in it, we thought we had wandered into a friend’s fantasy sequence. Then we realized that the gratuitous hotness does have a point. Michael Bay’s version of the events at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi in 2012 is so messy, the only way we could know whom to root for was to look for the hot guys. It doesn’t help that in Libya, everyone has facial hair.
The movie’s not awful, and we’re talking about a director who has plumbed new depths of awfulness with the Transformers movies. It’s thrilling in parts, reminding us how much we enjoyed the early Bay movie, The Rock. It also reminds us that there should be a legal limit to how much slow-motion a filmmaker may use. Worse, it has no notion of geography. We don’t know where the American installation is relative to anything, which part of the villa Ambassador Chris Stevens is in, where the attackers are coming from…jeez, we can’t even tell which ones the attackers are. But show us John Krasinski in a tight t-shirt, and immediately we know whose side we’re on. (Good for you, Emily Blunt, please make an action thriller with your husband.)