Saturday, January 16, 2016

13 Hours

Michael Bay, the producer and director who has given us Armageddon, Transformers and The Rock, now presents 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi to once again revive all the conspiracy theories that surround the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Libya.  As you can expect, the conservative blogs have run wild with this movie, and there are no end of personal accounts like this one by Col. Andrew Wood, who says his special teams forces had been removed one month before the attack took place by the Obama administration.  Col. Wood conveniently fails to mention that funding had been cut by Congress for embassy security prior to the attack as well.  Needless to say, Michael Bay doesn't deal with such nuances.  What he specializes in are heavy hitting action movies with little or no nuances, which make it very easy for conservative audiences, or any audience for that matter, to understand.

"Bob" appears to be Michael Bay's stand-in for the Obama administration, as Bay is not interested in all that petty bureaucratic haggling.  He wants to tell the stories of the brave men in charge of Benghazi security and how this ill-fated mission played out.  As such, it is not so much a political statement, like Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, as it is a film that exploits Benghazi for Michael Bay's financial gain.  He is purely in the business of making action movies, and knows what most people want to see on the screen, no matter how crass.

This is perfect for the crop of GOP candidates, which has been peddling the same Hollywood cliches on the campaign trail, especially Donald Trump, who deals in politics in the most crass terms.  Not surprising, Trump has chosen to screen this movie himself in Iowa, so that his supporters can get a full dose of Benghazi writ large on the silver screen.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Republican House decides to convene another special committee to investigate Benghazi in light of this movie, bringing in Michael Bay himself to offer expert testimony.  Special screenings are taking place all over the country, as Republicans hope to make Benghazi a burning issue on the campaign trail.

The only problem is that the movie has come out in January, and will be long forgotten, as Michael Bay movies are, by the time summer rolls around.  But, maybe this is another pre-emptive strike, which Republicans hope will sink Hillary's democratic nomination so they won't have to contend with her next Fall?

It is highly doubtful this film will have any impact whatsoever on the 2016 presidential election, as Bay himself seemed to go out of his way to avoid any direct political reference.  He looked at the success of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty and probably said, heh, I can make a movie just like that!  The fact that Benghazi has a built-in audience of conspiracy theorists had Hollywood giving him the green light.

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