The first trailer for Michael Bay’s military thriller “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” has been deployed, offering an early look at the action maestro’s take on a controversial chapter of recent history.
With a screenplay by Chuck Hogan (adapted from Mitchell Zuckoff’s nonfiction book), “13 Hours” recounts the terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in Libya that left four Americans dead in September 2012, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
The film focuses on the six-man security team that fought to repel the attackers, played by actors including James Badge Dale, John Krasinski and Max Martini.
While the trailer includes many of Bay’s visual and stylistic trademarks — lens flares, an American flag waving in the sun, pyrotechnic action — it will be interesting to see how political the film is, or isn’t.
The underlying events, after all, have been a hot-button topic, with some criticizing the U.S. for not doing more to prevent the bloodshed and others denouncing the politicization of a tragedy. Bay, for his part, keeps his politics close to the vest, though some have read a conservative outlook into his movies.
So far, “13 Hours” looks as though it will focus on the bravery of the security personnel rather than delving into the partisanship that ultimately engulfed the events, though there is one moment that suggests the kind of bureaucratic dithering that has been alleged by critics of the Obama administration: “You’re not the first responders — you’re the last resort,” the security team is told. “You will wait.”
If the film is able to effectively hit on themes of bravery, it could avoid audience divisions and become a hit in the vein of “American Sniper” and “Lone Survivor.”
Paramount Pictures will release “13 Hours” on Jan. 15.
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