13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

Featured In Issue 208, July/August 2016

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Strong combat violence throughout, bloody images and language.
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Michael Bay
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi tells the incredible true story of six elite ex-military operators who fought to protect the CIA against overwhelming odds when terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya on September 11, 2012. Based on the nonfiction novel 13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with member of the Annex Security Team. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurettes: For The Record: Finding The Truth Amid The Noise (HD 08:02), Uncovering Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers (HD 27:34), and Preparing For Battle: Behind The Scenes Of 13 Hours (HD 26:24); Operation: 13 Hours Premiere (HD 03:00); In Memoriam (HD 02:58); and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed digitally using the Red Epic Dragon camera system, which offers appears cinematic. The imagery exhibits a color palette that is saturated with rich and warm hues that result is a stylized visual experience. Fleshtones are orangish in hue but convey the impression of a humid desert environment in which human sweat is not uncommon. The locations are strongly hued, even the rare instances of green lawns, which pop. This oversaturation enhances the stylization and intensity of the environment’s textures. The lighting design also is stylized to enhance the dramatic aspects. Resolution is superb, with fine detail evident throughout, especially in closeups of facial features, hair, clothing, military paraphernalia, structures, and object textures—even dust—resulting from the intense raging fire at the compound and debris from explosions. Contrast is excellent throughout, with solid black levels and revealing shadow detail, even during nighttime exterior backdrops. The picture is pristine and exhibits excellent clarity and definition, which enhances the intense visual impact as the story unfolds. This is a reference-quality picture that is engaging throughout. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is extremely intense and dynamic sounding. The sonics are realistically frightening as the action intensifies and gunfire and rock fire dominate the soundtrack. Gunfire rips through the soundfield with aggressive directionality and is so well defined that different sound signatures can be identified, such as .233 caliber M4s to machine guns with larger caliber shells. The fire power is enhanced with heft from extended .1 LFE energy. Explosions also are intensified with .1 LFE sub-25 Hz energy. The resulting debris ricochets all around, creating a sense of intense mayhem. Rocket-propelled grenades also zoom through the soundfield. Additionally, the music score is rich with low-frequency extension and concussive rhythmic signatures that weave in and out of the largely synthesized sonics. The sonics in the height channels enhanced the sense of immersive dimensionality. This enhances the spatial sense of atmospherics and ambient effects, as well as sound effects, all nicely executed throughout. The additional surround channels really enhance the ear level spatial sonic character. Dialogue is consistently intelligible, with good spatial integration. This is a very intense and realistic holosonic® immersive soundtrack experience that is reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)