Michael Bay has returned and he brings with him the most un-Michael Bay movie ever. I initially didn’t know it was directed by him. I was curious about the film due to the fact that Jim from The Office is in it and he’s the main character, not a hardly there supporting one (Aloha); and also the fact that it seem like a controversial film as in operatives went in a place where they didn’t have jurisdiction or the authorization. So lo and behold, when I find out that this is done by the great explosive MB, my expectations sort of went downhill from there. Controversy and big explosions don’t necessarily match as the authenticity of the ‘based on true story’ is usually thrown out the window for grandeur and Hollywood-ness. Fortunately, that is not what I got. Instead, I got a relatively low-key explosive film with lip-service dealt with all sides of the conflict.
So on with the actual review.
This movie gave a Black Hawk Down vibe. It was enjoyable to that sense. I think it reminded me of that movie because it was gritty and tactical. There wasn’t any glorified action for the sake of it. It was gritty because they were really going to die in a lot of places and it was simply due to the fact that they were trained and had a stronghold and the other guys weren’t trained and hid behind pillars. In terms of the action, my only gripe with it was that there were a couple of instances where it clearly was obvious that a bullet was added post-production as the actor did not react whatsoever to a bullet hitting centimetres to his head. In terms of cinematography, it is your standard military flick though there were a few instances of first person perspective that was jarring and could have either been cut or could have included more instances of. The premise this time is also ‘seen it, been there’ but the subject matter includes more current issues such as contract ex-military personnel and local friendly militia looking exactly like local enemy militia. Beyond anything, this movie addresses the changes of the life overseas and it is a welcome change and a wake-up call for those back at home.
So now with the cast. Jim was great here. He somewhat played an extension to his counterpart in The Office but yet it was appropriate. He’s an ex-military vet who has seen it all so he knows when to be serious and that’s pretty much like Jim. Jim’s time as the main cast is shared with James Dale who is the leader of the group and it is a welcome change of perspective. With Jim it is the ‘new guy’ whereas James’ is the ‘guy who deals with the politics’. This change shows that there are a lot more things going on behind the scenes than just go in gun blazing. In terms of characters, you get a sense of the group early on and during down time you get to see a glimpse of their lives and their struggles. The american macho-ism were there but they were called out by other characters so it wasn’t ALL HAIL AMERICA and DIE SCUM! type of vibe which is great cause I think people are getting sick of that in a sense. I think this movie addresses a huge problem of where vets just have too much of a hard time adjusting to time back home that they rather just come back here. I think the group that will be most offended about this movie probably will be CIA operatives because they whine a lot in this movie and they are severly overacted but that seems to be a standard for MB films so I guess he tone down the explosions but kept this part of his trademark. But in reality, MB did them a service as it reminds audiences that CIA does not mean I am Jason Bourne. Then again, there will be Americans who are super upset as to how Libyans are portrayed in this film, there’s always those people.
With everything said, the fact of it all is that this incident occurred and Libyans and Americans were killed (clearly more Libyans than Americans) and people will get angry. But I won’t join them as this movie is based on a book that is written in the perspective of the Americans during the incident so whatever. Though, I am glad that MB fixed his mistakes in way as if he watched that Honest Trailer that was released for Pearl Harbour and fixed everything they had issues with and kept the cool stuff. I mean at the end of the day, this gave somewhat of a lip-service to those who died and even the locals who are usually marginalized to people with guns and that’s it. But the very fact that local militia showed up and helped these Americans says something and its that not all Middle Easterners are from ISIL and that is something I hope those hard-core macho HAIL AMERICA Americans can see and relate to. But that is hoping for too much and is getting more into social commentary than a movie review.
Anyway, I recommend you checking out this un-MB MB movie when you got some time to spare. I mean anything that makes you think of Black Hawk Down is a good thing if you are into that genre, right? Right.
PS: this movie was based off 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff.
PPS: Roy from The Office is also in this. I am so glad that they settled their differences and could work on the same team.