Tag Archives: Bay

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

19 Jan

<i>13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi</i>

Much will be made about the political ramifications of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, but the reality is Hilary Clinton is never mentioned once. The movie does, however, cast an unflattering light upon the nameless U.S. officials monitoring the situation from afar via drone while boots on the ground take fire from teeming insurgents and face insurmountable odds. Politics in this landscape are unavoidable, yet at the core, 13 Hours is a tale of grit, courage under fire and the Semper Fi brotherhood forged between a half-dozen men who draw paychecks from the CIA to keep their unappreciative Ivy-League-educated wonks safe in the middle of a terrorist hotbed within revolution-flipped Libya on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

Memories of the 2012 siege of the U.S. Embassy and the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens remain fresh, but the film, adapted from Mitchell Zuckoff’s similarly titled book by Chuck Hogan (The Town), casts a bigger net than merely regurgitating what was shown in news clips and spun politically at the time.

To get there, we sit on the shoulder of Jack Silva (John Krasinski), a former Navy SEAL saying goodbye to his family and heading overseas for the inevitable shitshow. The opening flash points blasted onto the screen “digital dossier style” informs us that, of the United States’ 292 diplomatic outposts in the world, 12 of them are in perilous areas, and two of those are in Libya. Right after Silva is picked up by his Global Response Staff (GRS) lead, Tyrone “Rone” Woods (James Badge Dale), there’s an immediate showdown with some heavily armed unfriendlies in a crowded alleyway. Bravado and bluster gets them through, but these buff, bearded lads can back it up. Continue reading

Pain & Gain

26 Apr

‘Pain & Gain’: Michael Bay gets you rethinking a rep as studio-incubated hack

“Pain & Gain” documents the American Dream gone amok in another Day-Glo Miami. Think of Tony Montana in “Scarface” and imagine comedic inepts such as Stan and Laurel wielding the Uzis and machetes and calling the shots. It’s not a pretty picture. One worthy of a few laughs perhaps, until you consider it’s based on a true story.

No joke.

Mark Wahlberg’s reliably effective as Daniel Lugo, an ex-con with jacked pecs, a silvery tongue and a tank full of big ideas. He starts out thinking small: Build a following at a niche middle-tier gym as the happening trainer; move in for a cut. Not a bad plan, and Daniel is a pretty amiable chap, but then he starts thinking of short cuts. One of his clients (an uproarious Tony Shalhoub, who at times seems to be channeling Joe Pesci from “Goodfellas”) made it big in unscrupulous ways and shares all the ins and outs with Daniel. There’s also an omnipresent TV guru (Ken Jeong) espousing get-rich-quick schemes, and somewhere in the middle a kidnap and extortion scheme is hatched.  Continue reading