13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Left to Right: Pablo Schreiber plays Kris "Tanto" Paronto, John Krasinski plays Jack Silva, David Denman plays Dave "Boon" Benton and Dominic Fumusa plays John "Tig" Tiegen in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi from Paramount Pictures and 3 Arts Entertainment / Bay Films in theatres January 15, 2016.

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Running Time: 2 hours and 24 minutes
Directed by: Michael Bay
Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images & language
Grade B+


John Krasinski as Jack Silva
James Badge Dale as Tyrone “Rone” Woods
Pablo Schreiber as Kris “Tanto” Paronto
David Denman as David “Boon” Benton
Dominic Fumusa as John “Tig” Tiegen
Max Martini as Mark “Oz” Geist
Alexia Barlier as Sona Jillani
David Costabile as Bob
Peyman Moaadi as Amahl
Matt Letscher as Ambassador Chris Stevens
Toby Stephens as Glen Doherty

“When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right.”

 “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

The 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a unique dramatization of actual events that occurred at a remote and supposedly secret CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  It is the story of the GRS (Global Response Staff), private military contractors hired by the CIA to provide protection for the agency’s operatives and diplomats in the city.

The GRS team is led by Tyrone “Rone” Woods (former Navy SEAL) who just days before the attack, invites an old friend and former SEAL, Jack Silva to his team.  They are joined by military veterans: Mark “Oz” Geist (former Marine), Kris “Tanto” Paronto (former Army Ranger), John “Tig” Tiegen (former Marine) and Dave “Boon” Benton.

This is their story about a widely controversial terrorist attack by Islamic militants on the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA Annex that claimed the lives of four Americans.  The attack occurs after the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a perpetually worn-torn port city on the Mediterranean Sea.

You’re not giving orders. You’re in my world now

 13 Hours: The Secrete Soldiers of Benghazi is a military drama adapted by Chuck Hogan from Mitchell Zuckoff’s 2014 bestseller, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi.  It is an intense, complex and true story told by the heroes that survived it.  The action-packed film by Bay, known for the Transformers franchise, delivers a respectable account of one of the most controversial terrorist attacks in recent history.

13 Hours is the harrowing story of the courageous men that went beyond the call of duty to protect the lives of others.  Bay does a great job intertwining humor in the dialogue to offset the gravity of the situation.  The film does an admirable job portraying a country in turmoil.  You get a first-hand account at how hard is it to tell the “friendlies” from the terrorists. The inclusion of fireworks which sound like explosives demonstrated how careful the GRS team had to be.

The camera work is a bit shaky in the beginning, and I suspect it was made that way on purpose to put the audience right in the middle of the war torn city.   The actors portrayed our heroes as hard core experienced special ops soldiers that deeply cared about their families, their country and their mission.  In the midst of tragedy, they had the courage to do what was right. I liked how the scenes with the family back home were interwoven into the script.  It allowed the audience to connect with the GRS team members on a personal level.  I think this was one of John Krasinksi’s best performances.  I especially loved Max Martini as Oz and Peyman Moaadi as Amahl.

 13 Hours downplays the politics involved in the tragedy of Benghazi.  It also leaves out the brutality done to Ambassador Chris Stevens.  Otherwise, the film delivers an accurate portrayal of the events according to the survivors.  13 Hours conveys the resolve, grit and determination of American heroes in the face of adversity and abandonment. ~A.S. MacLeod

  “The abundance of weapons, the absence of a working Libyan government, and lingering anti-Western sentiments among certain militias led to increasingly brazen incidents during the spring and summer of 2012.” ~ Mitchell Zuckoff

 In Memory

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens
U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith
CIA Contractor Tyrone S. Woods
CIA Contractor Glen Doherty

About Leigh Ann Rassler