Tyler Ku’ulani Lopez
Wow. I’m a sucker for a good military operations movie and let me tell you this hits all those points. This was heavy, strong, and I think incredibly worth watching. The movie is not without its mistakes, but the subject matter is strong and the way it’s presented to you at times is extraordinarily powerful. I went into it expecting your typical Michael Bay explosion fest with over the top silliness and a general lack of character. What I got was a raw look into one of the United States’ biggest screw jobs in recent history.
1 – Writing: 9/10
The writing was good. There wasn’t much creativity, but this movie isn’t exactly subtle. I thought it captured the fraternity and brotherhood of military personnel just fine. At times it was as cliche as apple pie, but sometimes those cliches are just appropriate touches of humanity. DANG. I’m good at reviews.
2 – Direction: 8/10
Let me go ahead and admit: I’m not a huge Michael Bay fan. Some of his early successes kind of fed into a whole lot of sub-par movies based solely around explosions. To be fair there’s a heck of a lot of explosions in 13 hours too, but at least they’re organic. I thought this was probably the best work I’ve seen from him in years, but there were a few pretty glaring editing mistakes. Overall he did a fantastic job, but there were a few scenes that were bad enough to knock him down a spot or two.
3 – Cinematography: 8/10
I mean what can you really expect from a Bay movie right? There were some solid shots, but the majority of what you get is that slow motion pan that he loves so much. A few shots looked straight out of Bad Boys 2 complete with super-meh dialogue. That being said, while there was nothing necessarily artistic, you still get some really nice looking shots.
4 – Acting: 9/10
No I’m serious! There was some truly fantastic acting in this movie. Not enough can be said for John Krasinski (as Jack Da Silva). As a fan of The Office, I had no idea John had this kind of acting in him. He was amazing. James Badge Dale (as Tyrone S. “Rone” Woods), Pablo Schreiber (as Kris “Tanto” Paronto), and Max Martini (as Mark “Oz” Geis; what an awesome name!) were also fantastic. David Costabile (as ‘The Chief’) did an excellent job of making me want to smack him in the mouth. I was unimpressed by Toby Stephens (as Glen “Bub” Doherty) though. Sometimes his acting took me out of the movie even.
5 – Editing: 6/10
This is easily the worst part of the movie for me. There was some serious editing errors in here. The dramatic fight scenes at times would go from bright to dark outside. I’m not positive, but I think I saw a few scenes were John Krasinski was in two places at once. It made the big confrontational scenes confusing and muddled it a bit for me.
6 – Sound: 9/10
I thought the sound was great on this one. You could differentiate between various weapons by the way they sounded and it was consistent through the movie. In a movie with a whole butt load of explosions and gunfire, the dialogue stayed crisp. I thought everything about the sound worked fine.
7 – Score/Soundtrack: 8/10
The music by Lorne Balfe was pretty Michael Bay typical which isn’t a bad thing. The music drove home most of the more dramatic scenes. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried a couple times and the music had a lot to do with that along with my tendency to weep at the movies.
8 – Production Design: 9/10
Pretty solid stuff. I didn’t see any major hiccups with anything. The set pieces were all solidly designed although some of them you could obviously tell were set pieces. I don’t got much else for this one.
9 – Casting: 8/10
Damn solid is all I can say about it. They all looked vaguely like their real life counterparts and they all did a damn good job. Even Toby Stevens had the look, I just thought his performance was lacking.
10 – Effects: 9/10
What do you think of when you think of Michael Bay movies? Yeah, they were good.
Overall Score: 8.3/10
Wow! This rating system is harsh. I thought this movie would end up higher ranked than this. Honestly, I thought this movie was great. While the movie points to pretty clear good guys and bad guys, it does a superb job of riding the fence of actual blame. They blame “the government” as a shadowy, unclear spectre of “bad” along with certain militant factions in Libya. Again, I’m not a huge Michael Bay fan but he did a great job of telling the story of a group of truly heroic men. I highly recommend this movie.