LOS ANGELES — As a Michael Bay-branded entertainment, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a doozy: a fierce, fiery, heart-thumping paramilitary shootout survival adventure with a backbone of likable characters and “true story” stakes. Whizzing bullets, chunky muscles, gritted white teeth, explosions as jump-scares — it’s all here, and it’s glorious.

As a political statement? That aspect is a lot more subtle. And certainly up for debate.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony

13 Hours is the story of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans — including U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — were killed during a siege that lasted as long as the title suggests. Republicans have seized on the conflict as a campaign flashpoint, blaming the Obama administration (and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular) for lax security that precipitated the attack and indifferent military response once it was underway. Read more…

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’13 Hours’ review: A hot plate of Michael Bay military action, hold the politics