Too Much Michael Bay?



Based on the 2012 attack of a U.S. compound in Libya, 13 Hours tells the story of a group of CIA contractors that fought to defend it. That might sound like a compelling story, but we’re not sure we can get past the Michael Bay-ness of it all. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi opens in wide release Jan. 15.

PAIGE: Pretty sure the best part of this trailer is the “DIRECTED BY MICHAEL BAY” that flashes across the screen. Like, oh. OK. So it’s that kind of movie.

NICOLE: I really like the camera angles and colors in this trailer. The light/day juxtaposed with war and night is really wonderful. All the guns and blazes are so sparkly. This is totally a Michael Bay trailer — all the way down to the background music.

JAMES: My memory is hazy, but recalling some Transformers movies, Bay’s action sequences lacked directional/spacial clarity. You’d need it in this. We’d need to know where the enemies are coming from, how many there are, and how much ground they’re gaining. In Bay’s typical style, we’d have weapons fired, an explosion, a guy running in slow motion, a car flipping over, a cat scrambling out of a trash can, and so on.

JAIMIE: I cannot begin to express how little I care about this movie. I have this problem with Michael Bay, in that I can’t take him seriously, don’t respect him and would never pay to see any of his movies. He makes large sums of money for films that are a study in the objectification of women, and one man’s need to stroke his ego with large explosions and special effects. The end.

CHRISTINA: The first, like, 40 seconds of this trailer actually looked OK. But then it just devolved into a barrage of explosions and nothing else.

PAIGE: What it really reminds me of is Call of Duty. This is basically Call of Duty: The Movie. You’ve got a small team fighting against overwhelming odds using a strategically ruined landscape to find a tactical advantage. I realize this is based on a fairly recent event and therefore should still have some murmur of tragedy associated with it, but it just reads like a video game to me here. A climactic final mission before the end of the game.

JAMES: Being based on actual events, the movie could use some realism. The soldiers who wrote the book have said that they wanted an apolitical story that highlights what they had to go through. But I have a feeling that while watching this movie, one of them will turn to the other and say, “Hey, I don’t remember you launching an SUV off a rooftop into a helicopter.”

PAIGE: Yes! That’s how I feel about the film: There’s no sense of historical context or realism. That’s why it has that generic “war game final level feel” that’s combat focused and not story oriented. You can’t separate context from action. Except, maybe that is exactly what Michael Bay did, which is why this movie could literally be called 13 Days: The Secret Soldiers of Switzerland and it’d probably still feel the same.

JAMES: It all looks and feels the same. This movie could have taken place in the backlot of a Transformers set. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the midst of explosions and gunfire, the soldiers ran by an Autobot as they dove for cover.