As American has become more and more entrenched in Middle Eastern conflict over the years, fimmakers have become more and more brazen in their portrayal of that conflict. Films like Lone Survivor and American Sniper told compelling yet controversial stories of modern war, and the effect that war has on American men and women. However, this trend seems to be reaching it's more topical, controversial, and downright dramatic the upcoming 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Directed by the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Michael Bay, 13 Hours stars James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3), and John Krasinski (The Office) as two members of a six-man Special Operations team who went in to defend the American embassy in Benghazi when their superiors told them to stand down. A new trailer for the film has just hit the web, and it definitely nails that sweet spot right between pulse-pounding and heart wrenching.
The trailer begins like many of the previous promos for the film, with Jack (Krasinski) arriving at his new post within a secret CIA facility in Benghazi. When the U.S embassy across the city comes under fire, Rone (Dale) defies orders and rallies his team to provide backup for the doomed, defenseless diplomats. What follows is a trailer jam packed with firefights that seem ripped straight out of the best Call of Duty games, as well as glimpses into the private, personal lives of the titular secret soldiers who fought to defend the lives of their fellow Americans.
Contemporary war films seem to fall into two schools of thought: the first revolves around the heroism of American soldiers in the face of insurmountable odds (see: Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor) while the other tends to focus on the darkness of war and the toll it takes on those who live on the battlefield (see: American Sniper, The Hurt Locker). It seems that 13 Hours seeks to strike a balance between these two ideas by taking Bay's prowess as an action filmmaker and injecting some pathos seldom seen throughout his filmography.
At this point it remains unclear whether or not the subject matter of 13 Hours will serve to benefit or harm the film's performance. The attack on the Benghazi embassy in 2012 remains a key hot button issue in American politics, and as such the film could deeply polarize the opinion of audiences.
Perhaps -- after so many trailers emphasizing how these six men defied orders -- the film's marketing has shifted to focus more on the men themselves, as opposed to the nature of their defiance. Rather than get caught up in the politics of the whole ordeal, the film could very well just honor real-life American heroism with zero subtext. We will find out soon enough.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi will see theatrical release in the U.S. on January 15th, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures