Benghazi, September 11, 2012, two U.S. diplomatic compounds were attacked and four men (including Ambassador Chris Stevens) were killed. It became a political chess piece for many years. It’s to the credit of director, Michael Bay that he takes politics from the story and tries to make the characters somewhat relatable. Bay incites his usual patriotic grandstanding. It’s an old fashioned combat movie: a good guys vs. bad guys, shoot everything in sight adventure.

Basically, it is a feature length Call of Duty videogame cut scene. The movie is flawed and overlong, but surprisingly, not boring. And, although aspects of its factual accuracy can be called into question, it does attempt to dramatize what happened that night. It’s a straightforward action-thriller that never pretends to be anything other than a strong dose of American patriotism.  It might be a hard pill to swallow for foreign audiences beyond these shores, but since Bay is making another Transformers film, he is allowed such a “risky” prospect.

There are some questionable Michael Bay moments, but none of the scantily clad sexualized female roles he has in his other work.  This is a full on bromance of combat, and to its credit, if you know nothing about the Benghazi situation, you can still sit back, and munch popcorn and watch the explosions.  Apart from the slow motion shooting of an American flag, and some hard to see night time shots, the film is at least entertaining to watch.

The actors do what they need to do, but what they need to do is shout, shoot, and sweat with their muscles.  See this when you might be hungry for something like The Hurt Locker or American Sniper.  It’s not exactly the same content, but the tone is similar.

Jason Turner

Jason Turner is a creative auteur from Kansas City. He is an actor, director, writer, filmmaker, producer, and published comic book author.

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